Many of you probably know the following common problem: You want to register for an event, buy some tickets for a concert or just use a contact form of your favorite brand. But before submitting the form you need to complete a CAPTCHA which is practically unreadable.
In fact it should protect website owners from spam bots, but in reality spam bots have less a hard time to solve it as you as a human.
By the way, CAPTCHA is the acronym for "Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart".
As researchers from webnographer.com found out in a case study, you’re not the only one who is struggling to pass a CAPTCHA. That’s one reason why we don’t use CAPTCHAs in PlanSo Forms. But first, back to the study:
CAPTCHA-Study of webnographer.com
Webnographer.com wanted to measure the impact of CAPTCHAs on user experience.
In their study only 62% of participants completed the CAPTCHA on the first attempt. That means a failure rate of 38% in their first try as presented in the graph. 23% needed more than one attempt to pass the CAPTCHA and in the end 15% even failed to pass the CAPTCHA completely.
Isn’t that crazy? With a view to the chart below they found out “that CAPTCHAs have a significant negative impact on user experience”. The more attempts failed to pass the CAPTCHA the lower was the chance to successfully solve it in the subsequent re-try.
Problems and Security Gaps
We also need to bear in mind that we're always talking about lusty people. As you can imagine, visually impaired people have serious trouble in passing a CAPTCHA, they're rather discriminated by it. That's why the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) in alliance with a number of Australian disability organisations started a petition on Change.org adressed to big companies namely Facebook, Microsoft and Google already two years ago.
ACCAN and various other non-profit organisations even created a campaign called Kill Captcha to abolish CAPTCHAs because of an inaccessibility for disabled people. You may also find a position statement about this campaign right here.
Moreover, CAPTCHAs are not as unassailable as always stated. Meanwhile for bots it is no problem anymore to solve CAPTCHAs on a website. In fact there are existing companies in Asia and all around the world which are focused on solving CAPTCHAs to make money with the spam industry.
Some guys from ShieldSquare tested Google’s reCAPTCHA against getting successfully solved by bots. How they made it can be read in their article. For us it's important to consider that people who are familiar with IT are definitely able to bypass a reCAPTCHA with some simple techniques. This should be a substantial argument for not using it.
Consequences of using CAPTCHAs
The result is companies and people who are using CAPTCHAs scare their customers away. What are following consequences? I assume you already got it: Your conversion rate will be ruined. Clients will go elsewhere and you are going to miss the point. Let me explain this aspect with a simple example:
You're selling a product online for about 100 $. Let's emanate from 10 people who are interested in your product and willing to buy it. With a successful transaction you would gain 1000 $ (10 x 100 $)on a day. But 30 % of those 10 customers are not able to pass the CAPTCHA during the purchase. In the end they fail and give up to solve it. That means you will sidestep 300 $ (3 x 100 $) whereas your customers really wanted to buy your product but failed in passing the CAPTCHA.
From an economic point of view that makes 9.300 $ less cash in a month and with a projection to one year even 109.000 $ less revenue, only through the usage of CAPTCHAs! I guess now you are able to relate that important issue about the conversion rate.
Summing up there is a paradox concerning the usage of CAPTCHAs. They were made to protect people against spam bots, but ultimately bots are the ones who are able to pass them frequently. At this point you will benefit from PlanSo Forms:
With PlanSo Forms you afford your clients a nice usability which will also forward your conversion rate. Moreover, our alternative integrated spam protection spares you annoying spam bots. Finally our abdication of CAPTCHAs enables blind and visually impaired people accessible security options.