Sunday, September 10, 2006

New Web leaving millions behind

The need for good usability plus accessibility ...

"As the amount of content and diversity of applications available over the Web grows exponentially, unyielding progress for most is a new roadblock for others. A growing number of Canadians with vision impairments, counting over one million, are being left behind, as the next-generation Web takes flight.

Learning firsthand how disabling an increasingly online world is, vision impaired concertgoers are turned away from, unable to purchase tickets — just try ordering by phone for a popular show.

Recently, while attempting to buy tickets from for Nickelback (guilty pleasure, I’ll admit) I was blocked by a security system designed to keep scalpers at bay. Known as a challenge-response system, it displays a random string of letters and numbers that could only be entered into a text box by a real person.

Because the characters are stretched and contorted in funny directions over a textured background, automated optical character recognition (OCR) software can’t make sense of the visual jumble, meaning scalpers and spammers can’t automate their job and have to do it by hand.

Trouble is, this visual challenge-response not only keeps out the bad guys, it stops vision-impaired customers, too."   (Continued via IT World Canada)   [Usability Resources]


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