Category: captcha

Rock bottom for Captcha, White House

Unbelievable and embarrassing. Is this a new low for CAPTCHA and also for the White House? Let me explain.

In order to sign an online petition by the White House to make books globally accessible to the blind, one must register an account. The fail point is that to register, one must complete a Captcha and the audio version is indecipherable. Therefore, blind folks cannot sign a petition advocating equality for the blind!

A very sad irony.

Here’s an example of the audio Captcha required to decipher in order to register to complete the petition. Because it’s impossible to decipher, the website does not meet Section 508 requirements as the White House claims.

Unfortunately there is still no clear solution to the Captcha accessibility and usability issues. For now it seems a combination of other techniques (see links below) is the best way to go.

Press links:

Articles on Captcha alternatives:

Link Roundup – May 2010

Twitter Roundup – January

Wow, this first month of 2010 flew by! So much going on in the Twittersphere, as usual. Here’s a quick summary of some great articles mentioned in the Twitter accessibility community. Please comment with anything outstanding that I’ve missed!

Also, on a sad note, we recently mourned the loss of Jack Pickard; a huge loss in the web accessibility community. Jack was a great web accessibility expert and advocate.

Podcast #72: Twitter Accessibility, Events, and News

Download Web Axe Episode 72 (Twitter Accessibility, Events, and News)


  • Feedback for new Web Axe theme song?
  • Opera 10 beta
  • Where are the headings?
  • AudioBoo “A Eulogy For IE6” by Paul Boag.
  • Web Axe-Refresh Detroit Tweetup! Ann Arbor, Michigan, Saturday, July 18.


Twitter and Web Accessibility

Accessible Twitter updates:

  • Ajax for deleting DM.
  • Popular Links page; added categories.
  • Add URL shortening to DM page.
  • Add (limited) functionality to update user profile.

Compiled List of links from #TwitterBook (look who’s first!)

Other Accessible Twitter applications:

  • Try a mobile web app.
  • TwInbox – plug-in for Microsoft Outlook
  • Tweet s60: totally accessible Twitter mobile app for Nokia Series 60 devices (via @AbilityNet @BlindTwit)

Other issues:

More News

    CAPTCHA Alternatives and Articles

    Seems like there’s been more talk about CAPTCHA lately (stands for “Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart”). Most of us dislike the use of CAPTCHA in web forms. And all of us (I hope) can certainly agree that it’s poor in usability, and often times not accessible–even for any human user; see Top 10 Worst Captchas. Even so, it’s still way too common on the web. Damn spammers are forcing developers to implement this poor technique.

    Fortunately, the collective intelligence of developers across the world have created many alternatives to CAPTCHA. Here are some great ideas from WebAIM’s article Spam-free accessible forms:

    • Detect spam-like content within submitted form elements.
    • Detect content within a hidden form element.
    • Validate the submitted form values.
    • Search for the same content in multiple form elements.
    • Generate dynamic content to ensure the form is submitted within a specific time window or by the same user.
    • Create a multi-stage form or form verification page.
    • Ensure the form is posted from your server.

    Here are some other articles about the (in)accessibility of CAPTCHA and other resolutions:

    Example of impossible CAPTCHA: