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Visual Verification: LiveJournal Removes Audio CAPTCHA, Puts Up "No Blind People Allowed" Sign.

March 25, 2008 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

We have just learned from a number of blind and visually impaired LiveJournal users that their audio CAPTCHA has been removed. We are now asked to “prove you’re human” without an accessible alternative. As with other situations where there is a lack of reasonable accomodations for CAPTCHA, this represents nothing less than a “no blind people allowed” sign. We find it doubly disturbing in this case, given that an accomodation in place for several years has now been taken away from us.

A support request has just been filed with LiveJournal asking for an ETA on the re-implementation of the audio CAPTCHA. All blind and visually impaired people, and those sighted people who care about what happens to us, are urged to add their comments and requests to this ticket asking for the restoration of the audio CAPTCHA as soon as possible. We further implore LiveJournal to publicly explain their actions, apologize to the blind community for its oversight and provide details on how it will move forward to ensure the accessibility of the service in the future.

3 opinions on “Visual Verification: LiveJournal Removes Audio CAPTCHA, Puts Up "No Blind People Allowed" Sign.

  1. The instructions are missing, but the feature still exists. Users can type “audio” in the text box (without the quotes) and it will take them to the audio capcha. Support volunteers and developers are investigating the cause of the missing instructions and they will be restored as soon as possible.

  2. My web host PowWeb recently added CAPTCHA to the login for the control panel. Now customers must type the username, password and image verification code correctly. But many people cannot read the image code correctly or at all.

    While it is appreciated that they attempt to improve security, we have now lost accessibility or usability. Customers have suggested adding audio, but they do not think there are enough complaints or people with visual impairments to bother to change this. They don’t think that any of their customers could have impairments. That could be true as those with impairments will be forced to go elsewhere.

    More companies should be compliant for people with disabilities. Current U.S. law says government, education and public service web sites should be accessible. More web designers should make more web sites readable for more audiences. While a photography web site is intended for people who are not blind, even those web sites could still be readable. There are different degrees or forms of blindness. Why are there so many people who forget about the blind?

    If anyone here is visually impaired or know someone who is and that person maintains a web site, please contact PowWeb and tell them. If they see a need to change the image verification or add audio verification, maybe they will change it.

  3. Please post a link to the company’s web site and information on the best way(s) to contact their technical support department. There’s no excuse these days for there not to be at least an audio CAPTCHA, especially given the existence of turnkey solutions such as ReCAPTCHA.net.

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