It sure was exciting when Google’s new reCaptcha was announced last week. Dubbed “No Captcha”, the goal of course is to provide a service that determines a human from a bot in order to prevent spam and abuse of online forms.
Derek Feathersone (@feather) from Simply Accessible was one of the first to report its accessibility impact in the blog post On the Accessibility of Google’s No CAPTCHA. The tone of the post is very positive, but the testing cited excludes JAWS with IE (still the most popular screen reader combination) where I found the No Captcha failed miserably. On the bright side, it passes with keyboard-only, Dragon Naturally Speaking, NVDA and the latest VoiceOver.
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.
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.