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.
You can try the No Captcha yourself on a test page hosted by Alastair Campbell (@alastc).
At best, No Captcha simplifies the Captcha experience. At worst, it excludes some users even more than the previous version. Hopefully Google will fix the current issues, especially support for JAWS.
My recommendation is to continue using non-Captcha security techniques; two great articles on how to do so are Spam-free accessible forms by WebAIM and 10 Things to Check Before Using a CAPTCHA by SitePoint.
- Results of screen reader testing by Patrick Lauke via WebAIM discussion
- Explaining The Fundamental Accessibility Challenge of CAPTCHA by Sina Bahram
- Storify of No Captcha Tweets by Adrian Roselli (@aardrian)
- Text CAPTCHA Logic Questions
- Official reCaptcha website