Update on CAPTCHA Accessibility! W3C need your inputs

Do you want to take part and provide inputs to the most critical digital accessibility problem, inaccessibility of CAPTCHA? Here is an opportunity for you.

Overview of inaccessibility of CAPTCHA

CAPTCHA accessibility is one of the most tricky and long existing problem for digital accessibility. It is a known fact that having only one CAPTCHA model on the web page will leave certain other disabilities and hence often websites try providing at least two modes. Still the existing CAPTCHA models leave away certain user groups.

5 years ago, I wrote an article stressing the need of Captcha accessibility and different options then available. Google’s recaptcha was introduced few years back and the feature was used by many websites. Many other options available in the market are often un-noticed. This draft by W3C Accessible Platform Architectures (APA) Working Group along with Research Questions Task Force drafted a publication. This draft publication is out for public inputs on February 14th, 2019 and is open until March 24th, 2019.

Why is inaccessibility of CAPTCHA important?

WCAG 2.0 and WCAG 2.1 success criteria 1.1.1 non-text content specifically refers to CAPTCHA. So, adhering to CAPTCHA accessibility is equally important. On the other hand because of inaccessible CAPTCHA on websites many users cannot signup, login, book tickets and cannot use many important functionalities of the website.

What’s the update on CAPTCHA accessibility?

In follow-up with the widely accessed publication on W3C website, the Accessible Platform Architectures (APA) Working Group, published a second draft update to the W3C Note “Inaccessibility of CAPTCHA“. The team tried documenting every possible solution available to solve CAPTCHA. This draft is out for public review and seeks your inputs. This process will ensure that the document captures as many options as possible and is as complete as possible.

To make the review process comfortable W3C have shared the following questions that may be helpful while providing your inputs.

  • Does this document fully capture current problems with CAPTCHA and related systems?
  • Are there other CAPTCHA approaches that should be added?
  • Are there concerns for certain categories of persons with disabilities that remain unaddressed or insufficiently addressed in this document?
  • Are you aware of relevant research or technological development in this area we missed?
  • Have we sufficiently addressed CAPTCHA’s problems with I18N?
  • Are issues of privacy and security appropriately addressed?
  • Have we mis-characterized any technology we discuss?

How to provide your inputs

Thoroughly read through the document inaccessibility of CAPTCHA and share your inputs.

To comment, file an issue in the W3C apa GitHub repository. If this is not feasible, send email to public-apa@w3.org (comment archive). Comments are requested by 24 March 2019.