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Re: sign up security:

From: Kynn Bartlett <kynn-edapta@idyllmtn.com>
Date: Mon, 28 Jan 2002 08:50:09 -0800
Message-Id: <a05101014b87b2fc627fb@[]>
To: "David Poehlman" <poehlman1@home.com>, "wai-ig list" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
At 10:36 AM -0500 1/28/02, David Poehlman wrote:
>One thing in this area that seems to becoming more popular and that
>completely stopps accessibility if you cannot utilize images is the use
>of an image that you are directed to transcribe as presented into an
>edit box to validate that you are a live human being filling out the
>form.  I know that yahoo has talked about looking into ways to fix this
>problem but the only solutions I have seen so far are to call the site
>or to send them an email so that can call you back or to listen to a
>.wav file, none of which provide parity.

Yes, this is a serious problem.  Unfortunately even as enlightened
a figure as Randal Schwartz endorsed this in a recent issue of
WebTechniques.  (http://www.webtechniques.com/archives/2001/12/perl/)

Here is the letter I wrote to him last month:

At 12:19 PM -0800 12/10/01, Kynn Bartlett wrote:
>Hi Randal,
>I just read your "Ravaged by Robots!" article in the December 2001 
>issue of WebTechniques.  You've come up with a clever and original 
>way of dealing with the problem of robots hitting online polls, but 
>unfortunately your solution cuts out an important group of 
>legitimate users:  web users with visual disabilities who are unable 
>to see images.
>These users won't be able to see the image with the security code, 
>and thus will never be able to pass the test.  A dedicated blind 
>user might be able to run an optical character recognition on your 
>program, but you've already said you'd use low-contrast letters if 
>you were worried about that -- which cuts out yet more users who may 
>be able to see, but need high contrast!
>Randal, in your article you say, "but we've raised the bar to a 
>point at which most people won't bother trying to get around it" -- 
>and that's exactly the problem, as your bar is now far above the 
>heads of many legitimate users, in violation of commonly accepted 
>accessibility principles (www.w3.org/WAI).  In her "14 Ways to Talk 
>Clients out of Ruining their Sites" in the same issue, Molly 
>Holzschlag reminds us that one sure path to ruin is "ignoring 
>accessibility" -- I think you may want to review that article.
>Kynn Bartlett

Please feel free to forward this information (rewrite it, send it along,
use it, whatever) to anyone else who may be using this type of "security"
technique to inadvertently shut out users with disabilities.  This is
a battle against ignorance; the people who are trying to solve one
problem don't realize how much it can hurt others.


Kynn Bartlett <kynn@idyllmtn.com>                 http://kynn.com
Chief Technologist, Idyll Mountain            http://idyllmtn.com
Web Accessibility Expert-for-hire          http://kynn.com/resume
January Web Accessibility eCourse           http://kynn.com/+d201
Forthcoming: Teach Yourself CSS in 24 Hours
Received on Monday, 28 January 2002 11:50:34 UTC

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