Having a CAPTCHA is Killing Your Conversion Rate

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Having a CAPTCHA is Killing Your Conversion Rate:

Having a CAPTCHA is Killing Your Conversion Rate

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SEOs can occasionally find ourselves guilty of focusing on just the following few things: Links Rankings Fun cuddly animals that Google keeps releasing from its algorithmic zoo

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Quite often we are heard muttering that user experience isn't really our problem. We are all about the above three points. However, as the job of SEOs continues to become broader, requiring a greater number of skill sets, I think user experience is something we can all work on. Besides, surely if we focus some of our energy on this, we are going to end up with much happier users, which in turn will result in higher conversions. There are various ways to work on improving user experience, and of course, conversion rate optimization also plays a part. Today, I want to focus on one specific part of user experience — CAPTCHAs (Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart) — and why I think they suck.

CAPTCHAs ask frustrating questions:

CAPTCHAs ask frustrating questions When you encounter a CAPTCHA, you are being asked the question,"Are you a robot?" It's like asking a customer who is about to enter a physical store, "Are you a thief?" before you allow them to walk through the door. So we used to flood our users with these "questions:"

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And from there we have now moved to this:

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Literally every time I see one of the above it makes me wish that this was on a nearby wall:

CAPTCHAs act as a barrier between you and your customers:

CAPTCHAs act as a barrier between you and your customers Back in 2009, Casey Henry wrote a great post on CAPTCHA's effect on conversion rates. He highlighted the fact that with CAPTCHA turned off, a company's conversion rate would increase by up to 3.2%. It's worth noting that the CAPTCHA type used in this test was based on the more traditional word format. That 3.2% is a pretty big potential gain for a whole lot of companies.

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Traditional Word Format CAPTCHA

CAPTCHAs are not a solution, they are a problem:

CAPTCHAs are not a solution, they are a problem At the beginning of 2013 it was announced that Ticketmaster was finally ditching its traditional CAPTCHAs. Ticketmaster proceeded with an alternative system by SolveMedia. The system presents users with an image or video, the user then has to type a phrase associated with that image. In the video version of the product, a descriptive phrase will appear which the user then has to copy into a box below. If they are not willing to do this, they need to watch the video for a certain amount of time (similar to YouTube advertising) before continuing.

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Right now, companies are producing variations of novelty products aimed at helping us to stop spam from landing in our inboxes. Many products claim they are aimed at improving the user experience by making this easier for humans. They come in a variety of styles, ranging from completing a simple sum to those that are image-based or even gamifying CAPTCHAs (such as Are You Human). Yet all of these "solutions" create the same problem. I, the user, am trying to complete a purchase, fill in a form, or even just submit a comment. And you, the website, keep putting this frustrating technological barrier between myself and my goal, just so you don't have to sort through a few items of spam.

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Another major concern is that these products aren't particularly user-friendly for those who are blind or partially sighted. Some simply offer the same audio CAPTCHAs (and problems) that we have been experiencing for as long as we remember.

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Thank you for reading! My resources: http://deathbycaptcha.com http://moz.com/blog/having-a-captcha-is-killing-your-conversion-rate

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