Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Web accessibility acknowledged as a CAPTCHA concern in Ars Technica

While it wasn’t necessarily directed at being an article about assistive technology, or web accessibility for users of such, a recent Ars Technica article nonetheless address these concerns when describing how
Google’s Gmail CAPTCHA was able to be cracked.

(CAPTCHAs are those squiggly letters and numbers internet users sometimes have to type into a form field to prove they are not a robot.)

In the article, the author describes some alternative means of creating CAPTCHAs to avoid getting cracked by malicious spam robots. Two of the alternative methods mentioned are audio CAPTCHA and an another one where the user has to select a number of similar visual images.

What was most noteworthy, though, was that this article was in
Ars Technica,
a well respected magazine for technology enthusiasts, and after describing those two alternative means, it spelled out the difficulty these types place on people who are hard of hearing and blind, respectively.

It is encouraging to see accessibility raised as a concern in a professional discussion on web security. While it may not affect the majority, those who are impacted know the hardships that being ignored places on them.

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