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Cut the fat. CAPTCHA

Posted By: Thomas Shaw, 11:32pm Monday 18 January 2010    Print Article

CAPTCHA is a program that protects websites against bots and spam by generating and grading tests that humans can pass but computer programs cannot. Nobody wants to use CAPTCHAs. They're a necessary evil. So why do we use them on application forms?

The term CAPTCHA is an acronym for “Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Human Apart”

If your application form needs protection from abuse, CAPTCHA will not solve your problem. Instead of adding CAPTCHA, look at the reasons why bots are processing queries on your website. 3rd party programs like Bad Behavior or Akismet may solve your problems.

Have a read of 10 things to check before using a CAPTCHA and The End is Nigh for CAPTCHAs

No one likes CAPTCHAs. They are not fun. They can not be used by everyone, such as those with impaired vision or without graphics enabled. They slow down the sign-up process and, ultimately, they will lead to fewer real registrations.

The worst problem with CAPTCHAs is that they put the onus on the user. Users do not care if you are receiving thousands of spam messages or bogus accounts: that’s your problem. CAPTCHAs should be the last barrier of defense – not the first.

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Article Tags: captcha cut the fat application form job board application form spam spam bad behavior akismet user experience vvc visual verification code

Comments Hide Comments (1)

Feel free to join in on the conversation. All comments are moderated before publishing. Comments posted by subscribers don't necessarily reflect the views of Recruitment Directory.

 Gareth Jenkins (7:10am Wednesday 20 January 2010)

Some of our clients' sites get hit by bots occasionally - usually for a sustained burst and then nothing. There are many bots out there simply crawling and looking for forms to submit - especially ones with large text fields that they can populate with spam adverts or links to sites. We find that usually simple validation on values on a few fields, such as valid email and phone numbers is enough to prevent them however as most bots are not very sophisticated. There are various other approaches I've seen such as only enabling the submit button if specific Javascript is run by the browser, but this approach often runs foul of accessibility requirements on our sites so we we avoid this.

Admittedly though, while we have offered Captcha protection for a while now to our clients, none have yet gone for it.. So I'd agree that it's generally unnecessary.

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