Continuing rant on CAPTCHAs

Should I shut up about these? Maybe. But no.

When I was in the market for a new cell phone, I wanted an accessible one. After going blind, I missed the internet and texting the most. I asked the women on my ACB email list about their phones. They almost all used a screenreader called Mobile Speak, which needs a compatible phone and a program installation. Being the quick fix kinda girl that I am, I found out about “off the shelf” phones that had some speaking features.

One of the women on the list all but reamed me when I talked about this phone. I will paraphrase here. She said something along the lines of, if I accept this phone because its off the shelf, and it will allow me to listen to my contacts list and maybe even text message. Then she said something like, if you accept this phone, you are telling them that blind people only need the bare minimum. She said, do you really want a phone that will only do a little, when a sighted person can do it all?

I live by her words today, not only because she’s right, but I admire her. She has her own business, and does not take no for an answer.

This is how I am feeling about word verifications. I feel excluded. Especially since I have run across these on other blind people’s blogs!!!!!! I feel like, maybe they don’t want comments. I think maybe I should let it drop. Maybe I should listen to all the people who tell me Jaws is the only good screen reader. Maybe Jaws can handle the stupid things on blogger. Well, I love my Apple. The main issue with these things is, I click on the “listen” link, and 95 percent of the time, my cursor doesn’t end up in the box where I must type the letters. Not only that, but if there are any distraction going on, I have to try and decipher numbers after garbled evil sounding talking. Why should I have to try and do this, listen a million times only to get frustrated and quit?

There is a service that will interpret the things if I take a screenshot of the image. But I still haven’t managed to make it work. My only other option is to wait for my sighted boyfriend. So, I find a blog, I like a post, I want to comment, I wait until evening and ask him to read the thing for me? No. Not freakin fair.

There are 2 sites where I have had success with their CAPTCHAs. mlb.com when I voted for the Allstars, and http://www.visionaware.org/blind_bloggers_blogs_by_people_who_are_blind_or_have_low_vision which is a list of blind bloggers, where I found the last 2 blogs with inaccessible CAPTCHAs.

I am on a web accessibility list from the web developers at webaim.org. We have had countless discussions about accessible CAPTCHAs and they have actually found some examples of some that work.

I am here to say that those on blogger do not. Maybe for some, but not for all. And I hate feeling freakin excluded, especially, especially, especially from other blind bloggers. I have to laugh that so far, minus one, all the sighted bloggers do not have these things…irony? The blind are supposed to be all discriminated against by the sighted. Yet, my puppy raiser friends sure don’t discriminate. In fact, I really have yet to feel discriminated against by anyone “out there”. It all seems to happen online. I find this interesting. And I’m all riled up. And I need to work through this resentment. THIS is why someday I hope for a career in web accessibility and advocacy.

Ok, I’m done. Really. Tomorrow I’ll write something light-hearted again. Hopefully. As for now, I’m done trying to find new blogs, at least until I’ve eaten something and can get over this dissappointment.

A BIG thanks to you bloggers without CAPTCHAs! *hugs*

7 Comments

Filed under accessibility, advocacy, assistive technologies, CAPTCHA, Jaws, plugs, proud geek, puppy raisers, rant, screen reader

7 Responses to Continuing rant on CAPTCHAs

  1. It does seem rather ironic that there are some blind people with these word verifications on them! I was getting some spam comments so I can see why people want them, but my solution was to just do the comment moderation.

    And even though I can see just fine, I hate them too! I have to concentrate really hard to get them right, and even so sometimes have to try several times. As a child I was diagnosed as having a visual processing learning disability and had difficulty reading until I was in my early twenties… so I am wondering if my trouble with them is a throwback to my school days when reading even single words was a challenge?

    Anyway, just wanted to say that I hate them too, and support your rants!

  2. R

    Thanks Emily!

    I can see how your troubles with these things could be related to your earlier troubles. They remind me of those pictures they used to have, where you have to unfocus and try to see the sailboat. I could never do those. Some day, click the listen link on one of those. The ones on blogger are the evil ones, as I call them. They sound like a record being played backwards, and then an evil voice garbles out a letter or number. They’re awful! I had troubles with these when I could see, too. I selected comment moderation too, when I was setting up the blog. At first I had nothing, but then was afraid of spam.

    Anyway, thanks for the support, and I wonder if you wrote an update…*running to the reading list* 🙂

  3. I have tried the audio a few times, just to see if I could do it if I had to. I have gotten it to work, but it was even more maddening than the picture! It took me a while to even figure out that there was talking on top of the garble… I thought it was all garble!

    And no, no update… Douglas is still waiting to either pass his tests or for a match!

  4. Sorry, JAWS can’t handle them any better. A picture unlabeled is a picture unreadable to JAWS, and there’s no way a CAPTCHA can be labeled. Bots would eat it up like candy.

    I think some blinks don’t know CAPTCHA is enabled. I have to tell them sometimes and then they are like um, er, uh what?

    Be strong, don’t let anyone tell you what you should or shouldn’t believe, or feel, or think. Keep on truckin’.

    Oh, another screenreader for the cellphone is Nuance Talks. I think it’s about the same price. I think. They have a list of compatible phones and some providers, I think Singular is one of them, will give you a bundle with phone and Talks for one heck of a lot cheaper than buying Talks and the phone outright. I am not familiar with American cell providers though. I’m from Canada. But I think TMobile and AT and T also do something but I’m really not sure.

  5. R

    Yeah Nuance was the first one my boyfriend found when I was curious about phones. T-Mobile doesn’t have anything. I decided on Mobile Speak and the only phone compatible with MobileSpeak was the T-Mobile Dash, like a Blackberry. I threatened to switch to AT & T because they have phones “off the shelf” with Mobile speak, but I didn’t plan to switch. T-Mobile gave me a sweet deal and I got the Dash for free. I love it! Cept its got a Windows voice and I’m so used to Alex. And texting with all thsoe keys sure was hard to learn 😉

  6. Is it still like a phone keyboard, or was it like a qwerty keyboard? If it’s a phone keyboard, climb aboard the predictive text train. It will make texting less cumbersome.

  7. R

    Its a qwerty but its got predictive technology too, so that helps.

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