This post was published on September 01, 2014.
At one point, access to technology, especially the Internet, was only a dream for the visually disabled. For a long time, online tools were not accessible owing to either the lack of availability or high cost. But today, popular screen reading software applications like Job Access With Speech (JAWS) and open source screen reading software applications like NVDA are available for free. These applications allow a blind person to access a computer and perform several of its functions without the need of a screen!
Accessing the Internet was initially not very easy, but as days passed several modules were added to screen readers, and now, almost 50% of the Internet, especially the text based part, is accessible to the blind. Among the accessible websites, one common roadblock encountered by the visually disabled is the CAPTCHA.
CAPTCHA, Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart, is a method used to prevent automated programs from accessing secure websites. CAPTCHA normally displays an image, the data in which must be manually entered into another text box to authenticate a human user. Though Google’s RE-CAPTCHA provides an audio alternative, its success rate is less than 50%. I used this several times, and succeeded only once.