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Visual Verification: FEMA’s Example Shows One Way to Do it Right for Everyone

July 24, 2007 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

The Federal Emergency Management Agency appears to have learned its lesson after Hurricane Katrina, where it did not permit blind and visually impaired citizens to complete online applications for assistance due to the inaccessibility of its visual verification scheme. The government agency has since done a 180 degree turn, providing a text based CAPTCHA that permits access to everyone, regardless of sensory disability. The FEMA eServices Application Suite represents a wonderful example of reasonably accomodating both the need to protect online resources and the need to permit access to those resources for all humans, regardless of disability.

3 opinions on “Visual Verification: FEMA’s Example Shows One Way to Do it Right for Everyone

  1. Excellent! Now I just hope Yahoo! and Hotmail figure it out soon too. When working in a Katrina shelter, getting past the CAPTCHA’s to set up e-mail accounts for the evacuees was a pain. Nothing like being a “computer expert” and still needing a few tries to decipher the gibberish.

  2. So if a non-sensory solution exists, is known to exist, and has been implemented, then should that, and nothing short of that, not be what is being demanded of Google?

  3. Bruce, I think the difference here is that at least Google is working on their current efforts (prooven by their last CSUN presentation). Yahoo has yet to show that they are even interested at this point accept for their web work shown a couple of years ago at CSUN.

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