You’ve seen them, and maybe they’ve even annoyed you a time or two before — but not without good reason. We’re talking of course about CAPTCHA, which is a security system designed to tell humans and computers apart by making form respondents identify a short series of letters in a box. 

You may be on the fence about whether or not to use CAPTCHA on your forms, and that’s totally OK. We’re here to help figure this whole thing out by answering the questions you should ask before determining if CAPTCHA is right for you. 

Do I Need CAPTCHA? 

If you’re looking for a way to stop spammers and spambots programmed to attack websites from flooding your form, CAPTCHA is the tried-and-true way to stop it. 

CAPTCHA naysayers have their reasons, though. Asking your form visitors to go through one extra step runs the risk of annoyance and — even worse — form abandonment. It’s generally good practice to minimize how much you’re asking of your respondents if you can help it, so keep that in mind when implementing CAPTCHA on your forms. 

One thing you can do it is test your form’s performance with, and without, CAPTCHA. Our Form Analytics tool gives JotForm users an accurate look at form conversion rates. Test your form without CAPTCHA first, and see if adding it makes any difference. 

What’s the Difference Between CAPTCHA and reCAPTCHA?

CAPTCHA and reCAPTCHA serve the same purpose, only reCAPTCHA was started as a way to also aide in the digitization of old books, addresses, and newspapers. It turns words that cannot be read by computers into CAPTCHAs for real people to solve. Pretty cool, eh? 

Recently, Google launched a click version of reCAPTCHA which doesn’t require the form visitor to type anything into a validation field; they simply have to check a box. And guess what — JotForm has a widget for that! 

Are There Any Other Alternatives to Traditional CAPTCHA?

You betcha! 

JotForm offers a drawing CAPTCHA, which lets the users trace randomly selected images instead of typing into a textbox. If done somewhat accurately, the system will determine they aren’t a bot. While this may ask for a little additional time for your form respondents, it’s definitely more interesting. And you also don’t have to worry about letter legibility causing additional headaches for your visitors. 

drawing captcha

It’s been debated time and time again, but CAPTCHA is an oldie, but a goodie. The only difference is that now we have more CAPTCHA options for our sites. For the best bot protection, it’s still the industry standard. 

Does your company use CAPTCHA on their forms? Why, or why not? Let us know in the comments! 

Chad is Director of Communications at JotForm. He’s also a frequent contributor to various tech and business publications, and an absolute wizard with a Vitamix. He holds a master’s degree in communication and resides with his girlfriend and cats in Oakland, California. You can reach Chad through his contact form.

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