Chuckle of the Morning

by Erica Sadun

Isn't it kind of pointless to include a link for people who can't read? :)

(I know, I know. They are referring to CAPTCHAs that are too difficult to parse visually. Still, this is a great example for any of you teaching or attending UI design classes.)


2007-05-25 10:17:22
I'm pretty sure it is for ADA compliance: indeed, for people who can't read, but whose computers read to them, or who use braille.
2007-05-25 11:15:48
Ticketmaster has some of the most difficult codes to read since some seem almost to be in cursive with letters overlapping or bleeding into other characters. I've used "Can't read" to get an easier code to enter.
2007-05-25 11:36:58
You make an excellent point, Erica. As a [writer|designer|(semi-)?former programmer], things like this really bug me. More appropriately, it might say, "Image unreadable?" or or even just "Can't read this?" There's room for another 4-letter word there, but like so many others, web programmers and designers are sloppy with their languages. (Which, in the spirit of "Chuckle of the Morning," is meant as a self-referential jab, since my regular expression doesn't quite parse; it's more of a pidgin RE.)
2007-05-25 11:40:38
@Andrew: I've done exactly the same thing on other sites like SendSpace. I've also found that I end up with an easier code, which makes me wonder whether it'd eventually just give up if I kept hitting the "can't read this" button and say "Ok, fine, just type something." Sort of defeats the point of CAPTCHAs.
2007-05-25 13:15:48
A double chuckle for me, because I thought the CAPTCHA was "NO6WH".
2007-05-25 21:13:37
Uh no...this is for blind users.
2007-05-25 22:42:35
This is for screen readers such as JAWS, VoiceOver or Emacspeak. It's good that whoever made this page took the time to do something for those users.
2007-05-26 14:59:32
Ryan and wac -- I've seen the "can't read" links send me to both aural CAPTCHAs as well as simply regenerating a new visual one. I agree that the latter case is not very Section 508 friendly, and that it should actually speak the CAPTCHA (like CraigsList's CAPTCHA does), but not all of them do.
2007-06-04 04:39:07
I think the "Can't read?" line is perfect. "Can't read this?" makes no sense, because if you're blind, you don't know what's near the text! "Image unreadable?" What image? Why should I want to read an image?

"Can't read?" Is a clear question with a clear answer and does not need any visual help for the person it is being asked to.

I guess I kind of fail to see what's wrong with this example.

2007-06-09 17:22:14
W00t for the ambiguous, perverse semantics of English!