Technology Solutions – Visual Verification (Captcha) and Audio Captcha

 A CAPTCHA is a program that protects websites against bots by generating and grading tests that humans can pass but current computer programs cannot.  CAPTCHA, which is short for “Completely Automated Public Turing Test to Tell Computers and Humans Apart” (www.captcha.net) which requires you to read some distorted text.  We’ve all seen it.  Either on blogs, or in forums, or even on more secure sites such as for banking and online auctions. 

However, we’ve all had the experience where the distortion is so great that even people make errors.  What is even more frustrating, is that for people with visual impairments these security measures make it impossible for them to access sites that use these forms of visual verification.  Screen-reading programs cannot decipher the twisted text (which is the goal, if you think about it…create text that a computer cannot decode.)

So what is the answer?  Site security and database security are imperative on the web.  This isn’t just about spam and blogs, but about personal information on banking sites and personnel information.

Dr. Dobb’s Portal – The World of Software Development has a great article by David Summer about how to implement Audio Captcha.  The article is clear, with sample text, and easy enough to follow that even a non-technie like me could understand it.  I have to admit that I was surprised and pleased to see an access issue featured so prominently on a software development site and applaud Dr. Dobb’s Portal for the inclusion of the article.  As an additional note, the main Captcha website is also supporting and encouraging the use of reCaptcha with offers a free ACCESSIBLE captcha.

Even if you aren’t a developer or “techie” the fact that you’re on the ‘Net means you’ve more than likely been exposed to Captcha.  Take a look at the article, that way, the next time you come across a site that only offers “twisted text” (and there are a number of blogs that utilize this) you can let them know that it is inaccessible and that there are easy-to-use, easily available accessible alternatives.  After all, who doesn’t wants to increase traffic to their site?

RESOURCES:

Article by David Summer on ‘Implementing Audio Captcha’

Offical Captcha Site with reCaptcha which offers an audio alternative for visually impaired computer users