...and when you consider that image verification is hackable, it's
not really that good of a solution anyway...
-- Jonnie Apple Seed With his: Hands-On Technolog(eye)s
On Jan 15, 2006, at 9:13 AM, Kaizen Program wrote:
Thank you, Chris, for this additional information.
----- Original Message ----- From: "Chris Hofstader" <chris.hofstader@xxxxxxxxxxx> To: <accessibleimage@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> Sent: Sunday, January 15, 2006 4:03 AM Subject: [accessibleimage] Re: Please support web access to visual verification systems
Sorry for rambling, this is one of my real hot button issues though.
Dear list members, friends, and colleagues:
Though this web accessibility issue might not be directly related to the main topic(s) of the list, I would ask those of you who are willing, to please sign the petition whose URL is below, concerning web pages that contain inaccessible graphical word verification systems, also known as CAPTCHA. These systems are becoming more widely implemented, in order to validate that a human is filling out the given form to obtain services or information. This is typically done by having the user look at a graphic or picture on the screen, and then copy the exact text by typing it into an edit box. Unless an accessible alternative means of verification is provided, blind computer users are essentially denied independent access to any information or service which is provided, once this correct string of characters would be entered. Since sighted people aren't necessarily always present and readily available to assist and read the text, this graphical word verification scheme, (CAPTCHA), is proving to be a significant and ever-growing information barrier to a variety of web services. This petition specifically addresses Google, and some of the services they offer, GMail for instance, which require verification by means of visual examination of a word presented in a picture, a task which is currently impossible for screen-reading software for the blind.
The petition is entitled:
"Google Word Verification Accessibility"
It is hosted on the web by PetitionOnline.com, a free online petition service, at the following URL:
Access to an increasing number of services for blind or deaf-blind people is severely hampered by websites that use the graphical word verification (CAPTCHA) system, without providing another alternative independent and timely means of verification. Such websites include, but are certainly not limited to, popular services such as YahooGroups, Blogger, Yahoo Email, etc.
A handful of websites have a work-around, such as automated verification via Email, or a feature to play a sound file containing the characters to be typed instead, for those who are unable to read the picture. Microsoft's Passport system, for example, provides an alternative using information presented in a (sometimes rather garbled!) sound file. Though this is not the best implementation of a solution, (particularly for those with both limited hearing and vision), it is preferable to various widely-used sites that have no realistically independent means of getting around having to see the word pictured in the graphic, in order to type those characters in the edit box.
Following is some additional information that the author of this petition, Darrell Shandrow, has provided to me:
*** Begin quote ***
Numerous companies offer their services in a way that already provides accessible alternatives to their visual verification systems, by way of an audio playback of the characters to be entered. Examples of such companies include:
AOL's Instant Messenger http://www.aim.com
and SpamArrest http://www.spamarrest.com.
Others, such as 0Spam http://www.0spam.com
offer e-mail confirmation that only requires an active e-mail address, a quite accessible and screen-reader-friendly alternative solution.
Sadly, many companies, including EarthLink's anti-spam features, Google and Yahoo, offer no way to independently pass their visual verification tests to gain access to their services.
*** End quote ***
I, Tina, wholeheartedly agree with the spirit of this petition, and I hope that you will choose to join me in my support for equal access for all web users. If you can spare a moment, please take a look, and please consider signing it yourself.
When you go to the petition link noted above, a form will come up, and all you need to do is fill in your name and Email address, for purposes of confirmation and verification by the system. Then, choose one of the three following Email privacy options: whether you would like to keep your Email address private, or only visible to the author of the petition, or if you would like your Email address clickable by the public as a Sendmail link. The automatic default is to keep your Email address private, so do not change any of the radio buttons if you'd like to keep it this way.
Comments are of course optional, but can be placed in the edit box provided, if you'd like.
Click, or otherwise activate, the "submit" button, and you're done
Again, here's the link to place your name on the petition, asking Google to implement an accessible solution for graphical word verification, Captcha:
Thank you so very kindly, for your active support of this critical issue, for computer users with any sort of print-reading disability.
Very sincerely, Tina Ektermanis Greeley, Colorado, USA tina-e@xxxxxxxxx