WebAIM - Web Accessibility In Mind

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RE: Captchas


From: Tim Harshbarger
Date: Sep 21, 2006 6:10AM

>I noticed on this page:
>that the site owners use a plain text option as their security
>Does this strike a better balance between security and
>usability? If so I'll consider using it on our site, as the
>spam bots are starting to discover us too...


I think that approach would work better for me personally. However, I
would be unwilling to assume my personal preferences equate to great
accessible design for everyone else. My good friends in the field of
Human-Computer Interaction at least managed to teach me that much. If
there is any way you could have actual users of your site try it out,
that would probably give you a much clearer picture.

I think Jared makes some great suggestions. It is very important to
define the problem well before seeking potential solutions. I have
experienced a few problems that seemed unsolvable that were easily
resolved once we took the time to go back and better define the problem
we wanted to address. It might be that a captcha is unnecessary to
solve the problem with which you are dealing.

Darrel also makes a good point about not annoying the users.
Interestingly, every article I have read about captchas (that did not
focus on accessibility) tends to discuss the advantages and
disadvantages from a site owner's or developer's point of view. I don't
think I recall any of those articles taking a user perspective or
discussing how captcha might impact a site's user base.