Are you a robot? Umm of course not, what a stupid question?

Do banks ask everyone who comes in "are you going to rob this bank?"

No because it’s ridiculous and so are CAPTCHAS.

CAPTCHASs being those form appenditures that require you to try and decipher some riddle-looking series of letters and numbers in order to complete a form.

Users have enough trouble getting past the obvious "who are you" kind of questions. So why make them suffer any more than they need to?

We need to realise that CAPTCHAS are not a solution, they are a problem.

Here are some interesting facts on CAPTCHAS:

On average:

  • Visual CAPTCHAs take 9.8 seconds to complete
  • Audio CAPTCHAs take much longer (28.4 seconds) to hear and solve
  • Audio CAPTCHA has a 50% give-up rate
  • Only 71% of the time will 3 users agree on the translation of a CAPTCHA
  • Only 31.2% of the time will 3 users agree on the translation of an audio CAPTCHA


My statistics are sourced here.


What is the solution?

Try a hidden field.

After all, CAPTCHAS are not for humans so they shouldn't be seen (or heard). A hidden field won't submit if it is filled in, a human can't see it on the front end of a website so a human, in theory, will always be able to submit the form. Bots do not know the field is hidden (in most cases) so they fill in in, which stops the form from submitting.

See the below example with the hidden field turned on, the "do not complete" field is usually not visible to the user we have only turned it on for the purposes of this example.

We implemented this for a client and it stopped SPAM emails instantly.

Normally the field is hidden using CSS but still in the background so data can be auto-populated into it. If data is found to be in it the computer says 'No'.

 Hidden form fields are a good start...

Before taking the drastic step of implementing a CAPTCHA, why not try a hidden field? 

Or one of a number of other tricks we've previously written about.

I know it should be simple and obvious. Obviously it isn't however. given how many CAPTCHAS are out there. Seriously, enough is enough. CAPTCHAS help nobody.