mathsnerd: ((batman begins) bitch please)
Sister to the Pleiades; smallest star in the sky ([personal profile] mathsnerd) wrote in [community profile] accessibility_fail2010-09-17 04:47 pm


So I am wishful of obtaining a second Gmail account, since my mail email is used for communicating with family, and for a myriad of reasons, I am forced to be permanently invisible on chat, and that makes me sad. Also, I'd like an email address that doesn't use my legal name in the handle for my internet stuff. So, I go to the sign-up page and try my usual options (mathsnerd, mathsie), only to find that they're both taken. Okay, no problem. I start trying logical workarounds to see which ones are available.

Oh, wait, what's that, Google? After trying more than three names, I have to go through CAPTCHA to prove I'm a real person? Okay, that's kind of soon, but whatever. Gee, you sure scrunch those letters together and make them all wavy so that I have a real hard time figuring out what the hell you want me to enter...

Huh, okay, I've tried eight times, Google, and I can't seem to read it well enough that you're satisfied that I'm a real person. And while you offer a "read-aloud" accessibility option for the CAPTCHA down below for submitting the form (which, incidentally, doesn't work in Chrome, yeah, you know, YOUR BROWSER!), for the CAPTCHA to keep trying different handles you conveniently don't offer any alternate options.

So, in conclusion, FUCK YOU, GOOGLE, AND FUCK YOUR UTTER LACK OF ACCESSIBILITY ON THIS PAGE. You should be ashamed of yourselves. Right now you're not living up to your usual standards. And I'm seriously wondering why I bother with Gmail accounts.

No love and a fuck-load of frustration,
[personal profile] mathsnerd
amadi: A bouquet of dark purple roses (Default)

[personal profile] amadi 2010-09-17 03:18 pm (UTC)(link)
Yeah, GMail is where I once encountered this CAPTCHA image after my fourth attempt to remember a forgotten password:

A jumble of letters in a red script that is completely unreadable.

I understand why they do what they can to keep GMail secure from fake accounts, but they are really lacking in options for accessibility.
codeman38: Osaka from Azumanga Daioh surrounded by Japanese kana, translated as 'Get it together!' (get it together)

[personal profile] codeman38 2010-09-17 03:26 pm (UTC)(link)
For what it's worth, when the audio option does work, you can't hear the digits above the background noise of gibberish speech in the same pitched voice.

I say this from experience. -_-;;
trouble: Icon showing the standard "accessibility" icons - wheelchair user, Sign, cane, and information (Accessibility)

[personal profile] trouble 2010-09-17 03:49 pm (UTC)(link)
Actually, lobbying Google about this issue isn't a bad idea at all. I wonder if this is something we should do.

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willow: Raspberry on black background. Text: Original Unfiltered Willow (Willow:Unfiltered)

[personal profile] willow 2010-09-17 04:47 pm (UTC)(link)
It wasn't just me?? I thought something was wrong with my speakers or something that I couldn't make anything out- I was so frustrated and near tears I just gave up. Luckily by the next day I remembered the password.

[personal profile] techstep 2010-09-17 05:58 pm (UTC)(link)
I'm a able-bodied friend of [personal profile] mathsnerd's, and I was just discussing this with her and she asked me to post here.

My hearing is generally pretty good -- I'm a veteran shortwave radio listener, spent a lot of time listening to noisy experimental music, and can otherwise do a decent job of extracting signals from noisy audio -- but the audio version of Google CAPTCHA is nothing short of awful. I listened to a clip several times while trying to create an account, and couldn't figure out, for the life of me, what the hell was going on.

I understand that voice recognition technology for discrete letters and numbers has become pretty decent. And I understand they need to develop anti-spam techniques. But if Google's "accessible" CAPTCHA is failing for amateur audio engineers, then they're just using "accessible" as a marketing label.
codeman38: Osaka from Azumanga Daioh: 'I live in my own little world, but it's OK... they know me here!' (own little world)

[personal profile] codeman38 2010-09-17 06:15 pm (UTC)(link)
Wow. Sometimes I wish DW had a "like" feature on comments, because I would totally be clicking it here.

Seriously, though. If you're going to have gibberish speech in the background to throw off speech recognition systems, is it that hard to choose samples that don't also sound like numbers?

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codeman38: Osaka from Azumanga Daioh enjoying sticking her face into a bed of flour a bit too much; captioned 'headdesk'. (headdesk)

[personal profile] codeman38 2010-09-17 03:27 pm (UTC)(link)
...oh yeah, and the gibberish quite often sounds vaguely like numbers. So I can't tell if the "two" I heard was actually a "two" or part of the background noise. >_<;;

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trouble: Sketch of Hermoine from Harry Potter with "Bookworms will rule the world (after we finish the background reading)" on it (Default)

[personal profile] trouble 2010-09-18 01:20 pm (UTC)(link)
Hey, can I use this screengrab in a post?
amadi: A bouquet of dark purple roses (Default)

[personal profile] amadi 2010-09-19 12:13 pm (UTC)(link)
If you can snag it and upload it to your own server, knock yourself out!
meloukhia: Red stockinged legs in black heels, standing next to a watering can with a red flower. (Default)

[personal profile] meloukhia 2010-09-17 03:59 pm (UTC)(link)
Ahem. I know some Googlers. And, in fact, have ranted extravagantly with much waving of arms in seedy bars about accessibility at Google. Let me see if I can track any of the little boogers down and see if there's someone specific we could direct our rage at.
meloukhia: Red stockinged legs in black heels, standing next to a watering can with a red flower. (Default)

[personal profile] meloukhia 2010-09-17 04:10 pm (UTC)(link)
I've got some emails out--I'd like to get contact info for someone who works on accessibility stuff. I'm thinking about a well crafted post to point folks at, and a polite email campaign (said post could include an email template, even!).

One person who might be good to keep in mind is Ken Harrenstien, the Deaf engineer who helped design automatic captioning for YouTube. I'm also in the Bay Area, so if we could organise a campaign that resulted in, like, an actual meeting with a Google person, I might be able to represent...

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[personal profile] yarram - 2010-09-17 17:15 (UTC) - Expand

No way!

[personal profile] wheelieterp - 2010-09-17 17:49 (UTC) - Expand

My Soap Box Has a Ramp.

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Re: My Soap Box Has a Ramp.

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auroraprimavera: Michelle Monaghan (Default)

[personal profile] auroraprimavera 2010-09-18 01:44 am (UTC)(link)
I just read through all this and good LORD. I'll definitely be giving a signal boost. Google. UGH.
modest: picture of character calleigh duquesne from tv show csi miami (Default)

[personal profile] modest 2010-09-18 06:43 pm (UTC)(link)
Ugh, that sounds awful. I have no disabilities relating to vision, but even I notice that those CAPTCHAs are sometimes almost impossible to read. I find myself pressing the "refresh" button to get a new phrase bunches of times before I can find something I can make out. I get that humans are smarter than robots, but we don't have super powers either!
trouble: Sketch of Hermoine from Harry Potter with "Bookworms will rule the world (after we finish the background reading)" on it (Default)

[personal profile] trouble 2010-09-20 05:29 pm (UTC)(link)
Here is my post:

People in the comments are also reporting huge issues. :(
susanreads: my avatar, a white woman with brown hair and glasses (Default)

[personal profile] susanreads 2011-02-17 10:09 pm (UTC)(link)
I joined Google's accessibility group in order to make a complaint as a result of this post, and I get emails of posts. Usually people complain about a problem and the staff deny that it's anything to do with them, or say "Here's how you can work around it."

The current conversation is about those audio captchas, and they're still denying that they ought to do anything, but the latest workaround suggested might actually be useful for some people. Extracts from the conversation:

suggestion: switch to Firefox and install the WebVisum plugin. It is a CAPTCHA killer. It will solve nearly all CAPTCHAs and place them on your clipboard for pasting into an edit field.
[which suggests to me that the captchas are now useless as spam prevention anyway]

Then people ask how to find WebVisum, and how to get an invitation.

Today's answer: did you try to request an invitation at

That's about as far as it's got.
ext_789576: (Default)

Webvisum alternative

[identity profile] 2011-06-06 09:56 pm (UTC)(link)
There is a much better solution than Webvisum and is called Captcha Monster. It works similarly to Webvisum but does all the job automatically - it will find CAPTCHA image, read the text and put it in the right field. With no interaction needed. Solving time is much shorter than in Webvisum and on average equals 9 seconds.

You don't need any invitation code to try this plugin, just visit its website: Captcha Monster (