CAPTCHA, what is it good for?

Smashing Magazine has posted up an excellent blog post on Captcha called In Search of the Perfect Captcha.

When CAPTCHA is implemented, the end users are often neglected and not surpraisingly the following are often sacrificed:

  1. Accessability - although the use of common solutions such as reCAPTCHA will address this issue.
  2. Usability - most CAPTCHA solutions that I have seen are difficult and frustrating for end users this include the aforementioned reCAPTCHA.
I certainly can sympathize and wholeheartedly agree with the Tim Kadlec’s sentiment on Death To CAPTCHAs:
Spam is not the user’s problem; it is the problem of the business that is providing the website. It is arrogant and lazy to try and push the problem onto a website’s visitors.

Before jumping to the trap of “if Google does it - it must be good” kind of thinking and implement CAPTCHA blindly, consider a couple of things first:

  1. Is there a real need for it? Are your site really constantly being targeted by spammers?
  2. What are the alternatives? The article above did discuss a few alternatives, honeypot method looks like worth trying.