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Visual Verification: Yahoo! Removes Manual Form Facilitating Blind User Registration

September 21, 2007 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

As all of us know, the folks at Yahoo! do not permit blind people to independently sign up for the company’s services. Instead, a link to a form was provided, whereby a representative would, presumably, manually assist a blind person with the registration process. While some people received this help once in awhile, it was largely ineffective, tantamount to providing no assistance at all. It seems, unfortunately, that there has been a step made in the wrong direction. Yahoo!’s registration page no longer includes the special form made available for the purpose of accomodating us. We also note that the registration page for del.icio.us also continues not to allow us to sign up solely based on our physical lack of eye sight.

Now, more than ever, it is absolutely critical that we motivate as many Internet users as possible to sign the Yahoo! Accessibility Improvement Petition urging the company’s web development team to promptly implement a CAPTCHA solution that reasonably accomodates blind and visually impaired humans.

3 opinions on “Visual Verification: Yahoo! Removes Manual Form Facilitating Blind User Registration

  1. Depending on how you look at it though, this may not be a step in the wrong direction ultimately because what was posted there before was not effective, or if it was, not enough of the time to be the least bit reliable. People not in need of the service would look and see the link there though and say ah, there ya go, look at that. They provide for those guys. I know you have been making the entire context known to people that are paying attention, but it is a little more obvious in general that there is no consideration though. It baffles me that yahoo even has a department that is suppose to oversee such issues as we know at least one person working in it, but there really don’t seem to be any outward results in much of anything. I am not blaming that individual by any means, just commenting on the observation. Things may happen that are not noticed by the end user or by some in some situations and not others.

  2. This is Nick from del.icio.us.. just wanted to say that your concerns are valid and we are taking steps to make sure that we take better care of blind users in the future.

    Steps we are taking:

    1. While we are working on implementation of features like audio CAPTCHA, we will register users over the phone as requested. We will integrate a link to request this registration assistance in the registration pages, so that they are easier to find.

    2. Long term- we are working with our own accessibility team to implement best practices in this regard. This includes technologies like audio CAPTCHA and ensuring that our pages are browsable by readers.

    Nick Nguyen
    Product Manager, del.icio.us

  3. I think the step towards adding an audio captcha is great, but why not follow the lead of other sites and provide some kind of challenge and response instead of having to go through all this of having to listen to that stupid, indecipherable audio file over and over again, not knowing if they said v, b, or d. Again I’m happy that it’s provided to those who want it, but there are always better solutions. a couple of sites that use the kind of challenge and response are Orbitcast.com
    http://www.orbitcast.com
    and the GW Micro.com blog
    http://www.gwmicro.com/blog
    I like this sollution because it’s much faster. and if it’s a pay service, why would you not allow me to sign up if you know you aren’t going to get my money? I guess that remains an unanswered question. Let’s get these guys on the ball.

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