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The Blind Need Not Apply

Posted in Apple Inc

Have you ever been trying to sign up for a new service on the Internet only to find after going through the steps in order to set up your account, you are asked to type in the characters shown in the box below? This is called a CAPTCHA and they are completely inaccessible to the blind.

Oh yeah, most websites will offer us the option of using an Audio Captcha, but as far as I am concerned these are just as inaccessible as the visual Captcha’s.

Don’t get me wrong. I know that there is a very good reason for a website to use something like a Captcha to try and keep a robot computer from signing up accounts just for the purpose of sending out spam, but give me a break. There has got to be another way of thwarting bots on the Internet without leaving the blind community on the outside looking in.

Remarkably this is not just a nuisance to those of who are blind. I have heard a lot of fully sighted people who struggle with the Captcha solving process. Which to me begs the question: Are Captchas really the solution to the spamming problem?

There are some usable solutions for some blind people, but unfortunately, these solutions do not seem to be gaining any type of a stronghold in the market, so the likelihood of these services becoming to all browsers is probably slim to none.

The first option that I would like to mention is Webvisum. This is probably the best known solution for the blind, but unfortunately it is only available for the Mozilla Firefox browser and for those of us that have migrated over to the Mac computer, Firefox just is not really a viable option right now due to inaccessibility issues.

I should mention that there is some work being done on making Firefox more accessible but this work has been going on for quite some time and still there is not a dependable release of Firefox that I would consider running everyday.

Another Captcha solving service is called Captcha Monster. This is a paid service, but there is a 30 day trial that you can use to see how it works and if you like it, you will have to pay a small monthly fee in order to keep using it.

This type of a service has another problem. It is again only available on Firefox, and is it right for us to have to pay for a service that does something on the Internet that sighted do not have to pay for?

By that I mean; there is no charge for just solving a Captcha But if we cannot see the distorted characters and no screen reader can see it either, should we have to pay a third party in order to get that Captcha solved?

It is because of the inaccessibility of Captchas that I do not sign up for any service that requires me to solve one of these ridiculous things.

Do you know of a service free or paid that is completely accessible that can solve Captchas? If so, please leave me a comment and let me know about it.