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Visual Verification At Libsyn

January 22, 2006 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

After discovering an inaccessible implementation of visual verification at Libsyn, I wrote the following letter to support@libsyn.com asking for the implementation of an accessible alternative. At this time, the inaccessible visual verification means that blind and visually impaired users are not allowed to fully participate in Libsyn hosted podcasts as we are not permitted to post comments. Accessible alternatives to visual verification do exist now. There are also other techniques, such as comment moderation, that could protect against spammers in this context. Let’s all write a note to Libsyn asking them to take prompt action to include us. We’re talking about podcasting here, which is an audio media to which we should inherently be granted full access. Let’s urge a major player on the podcasting scene to do the right thing.

Dear Libsyn Support,

I am a blind podcast listener. While looking at the shownotes for one of my favorite podcasts hosted by your company, I noticed that I am not currently permitted to post comments to the associated blog due to the implementation of visual verification without an accessible alternative. Please consider implementing an accessible alternative. The current state of the art is audio playback of the characters to be entered, but more innovative solutions, such as answering a challenge question or perhaps e-mail verification of some kind, would allow even greater access while still protecting your security.

Please don’t continue locking out a significant number of podcast listeners. I urge you to promptly provide an accessible alternative to your visual verification scheme. The blind community would stand ready to assist with the implementation and testing of a workable solution. I look forward to your company’s prompt, positive response to this matter.

All the best,

Darrell Shandrow

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