I've had many conversations on the subject of CAPTCHAs with consultants in
our Talking Book division. Like it or not, many webmasters who insist on
using visual CAPTCHAs (often in combination with JavaScript) are turning
away customers. One consultant, who is blind herself and who is NOT
technologically illiterate by any means, has had to have a sighted co-worker
sign up for her for anything Yahoo! related. When I looked at Yahoo!'s code
a while back, they present the CAPTCHA, with a link (encoded as JavaScript
popup) for folks who can't read the CAPTCHA. JAWS, the screen-reader program
we have installed here, just would not recognize that link. (Note: I just
looked again, and they've improved things considerably -- see below for
code). Jim Thatcher, who is a major voice in the accessibility world, has an
article about some of the difficulties posed by CAPTCHA and its ilk:

There are lots of other ways to minimize bot problems that don't (ahem!)
violate the law, for those of us who work for institutions subject to
section 508 and similar rules. There's a very nice (though slightly dated)
article at on the subject. Logic puzzles,
presented as simple text, are the approach we use most commonly, although
Google's apparent ability to solve some of these does have us a little

I'm not sure it's ever good a good idea to insult your users, or your
colleagues. I know that I've seen CAPTCHA's with the message that boils down
to "to help us make sure you're really a human, please fill this out." I'm
not disabled, but I am insulted by these messages!

Danielle Cunniff Plumer, Coordinator
Texas Heritage Digitization Initiative
Texas State Library and Archives Commission
512.463.5852 (phone) / 512.936.2306 (fax)
[log in to unmask]
[log in to unmask]

Yahoo's code:

<p class="vi-note">
Attention Blind or Visually Impaired Users: To complete this form you
must enter a word that is part of an image. If you can't read the
image, Yahoo is happy to help you create your account. A
representative from customer care will need to contact you. To request
assistance with registration, please read the Yahoo! Terms of Service
located at <a href="
Once you have reviewed our policies, please provide your phone number
and email address and send your request by visiting this URL - <a
<div id="captchaDiv" class="ymemformfield" >
 <input type="text" name="cword" id="cword" value="" size="10"
maxlength="10" class="" tabindex="20" autocomplete="off">
 <a id="captchaSwitchButton" ><input type="button" tabindex="21"
id="caswitchurl" value="Need audio assistance ?"></a>
 <span class="small"><a href="" id="lnk_captcha_moreinfo" title="More
info about verifying your account" target="pp">More
 <p>This helps Yahoo! prevent automated registrations.</p>
 <div id="captchaCanvas" >
      <img src=""
width="290" height="80" alt="" border="2" id="cimg" class="cimg">
    <a id="captchaRefreshAnchor"><input type="button" tabindex="22"
id="captchaShuffleLink" value="Try a new code" ></a>

On Fri, Oct 2, 2009 at 2:53 PM, Casey Durfee <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> On Thu, Oct 1, 2009 at 8:39 AM, MJ Ray <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> > Eric Hellman wrote:
> > > Are you arguing that reCaptcha cannot be accessible or that it is
> > > incorrectly implemented on this site?
> >
> > Primarily that it is incorrectly implemented.  However, I've yet to
> > see an implementation of recaptcha that is accessible and does not
> > needlessly insult users with impaired vision.  Even the one on
> > includes the fully-abled=human insults.
> >
> >
> The space shuttle is not wheelchair-accessible.  Is that a reason not to go
> to the moon?  Are non-astronauts less than human?  People in foreign
> countries who don't speak English are not discriminating against you by not
> speaking English.  Fancy restaurants don't have picture menus.  People who
> don't have the internet can't query google via snail mail.  Do you consider
> yourself more human than people who don't have internet access or don't
> know
> how to read?
> Captcha isn't meant as a judgment about whether you happen to have a soul
> or
> something, so there's no need to take it personally.  It's meant to keep
> the
> bots out, period.  It's easy to not understand the importance of that if
> you've never had to deal with your site getting spammed.  No business owner
> in their right mind wants to exclude potential customers if they don't have
> to.
> If the site itself is not accessible, maybe it's better they use ReCaptcha
> and screen people they're unable to serve out before they even try to sign
> up...