CAPTCHA, Cognitive Disabilities, v1 (W3C Task Force)

2014/09/02

As a member of the W3C‘s Cognitive and Learning Disabilities Accessibility Task Force, I agreed to review web-security technologies. I chose to begin with CAPTCHA. My first draft is below. The format I am using is the one I intend to use for future reviews. All the text is my own.

I welcome your feedback, additions, and/or revisions.

Example: shows 2 italicized words with lines through them; field with label 'Type the two words:';  3 buttons; and text 'reCAPTCHA', 'stop spam', 'read books'.Definition

CAPTCHA is typically a website widget that prevents automated programs from submitting a web form intended for humans by requiring humans to pass a test. Such tests present distorted text visually and/or aurally; and require the form-submitter to enter that text into a field, and invoke a submit button. See http://www.captcha.net/

Problem

CAPTCHA often blocks people with physical and/or cognitive disabilities who cannot discern the text they are required to enter and submit. The scope of the problem is vast because, for example, people with disabilities are prevented from purchasing goods and registering for services on the (probably) millions of websites that use CAPTCHA.

People with Cognitive Disabilities May Not Be Able to:

  • read CAPTCHA text at all because of the intentional distortion of it
  • comprehend text that can’t be enlarged without additional distortion
  • have the advantage of comprehending the meaning of words or images
  • understand text spoken in a computerized and distorted voice
  • complete the multi-step procedure for submitting the CAPTCHA text
  • complete a timed CAPTCHA due to slowness in completing all steps
  • understand the purpose of buttons such as reset, listen, and help
  • recognize functional elements, such as buttons, are clickable
  • focus due to irrelevant instructions such as “stop spam” and “read books”
  • become accustomed to CAPTCHA because there are multiple versions of it

Alternatives

Notes

  • Neil Milliken suggested I add that people may not be able to complete CAPTCHAs correctly due to sequencing problems causing them to input the characters in incorrect order. I will do so in my next draft.
  • No endorsement of CAPTCHA or its alternatives is intended or implied.

Autism Gap Analysis (W3C Task Force)

2014/08/25

Neil Milliken and I have written an autism gap analysis as part of the effort to create gap analyses by the W3C‘s Cognitive and Learning Disabilities Accessibility Task Force. Our intent is to identify the gap between where the state of accessibility for people with autism is now when using the web, and where we want it to be. The following is information about the autism gap analysis.

We included some personas with use cases that address key challenges. The personas and use cases are based upon aggregated results of interviews of people with autism-spectrum disorder (ASD), and upon anecdotal observations of their use of the web.

To our knowledge, there is no significant, empirical (user-based) testing on the use of the web by people with autism or other cognitive disabilities. In part because of that, we quoted results of directly-related research performed by WebAIM (N=8) in the section “Characteristics of content optimized for this group.”

We also quoted, from authoritative sources, much of the background information about autism. We did that, in large part, to help avoid adding to ASD-related controversies. The prime example is the reported increasing prevalence of ASD, and arguments that the increase is not actual, but due to the nature of the diagnoses.

Notes:

  • I will soon conduct a literature review for user-testing-based research related to web accessibility and people with cognitive disabilities. If you know of any, please post a comment with a reference to it.
  • Neil Milliken was assisted by Jessie Grainger, an intern who helped write most of the use-case scenarios.
  • No endorsement of any of the information contained in the autism gap analysis is intended or implied.

Gap Analyses for Cognitive Web Accessibility (W3C Task Force)

2014/08/19

The members of the W3C‘s Cognitive and Learning Disabilities Accessibility Task Force have been working since January to develop a set of gap analyses. A gap analysis, as we have defined it, identifies the gap between where the state of accessibility for people with cognitive disabilities is now when using the web, and where we want it to be.

The gap analyses are based upon common cognitive disabilities. The following list of the gap analyses includes their primary authors (as of July, 2014).

The task force has completed the first drafts. We are now working on integrating the information in the gap analyses into a single document. A large part of this work is to define cognitive web accessibility from a functional standpoint. We plan to combine information, such as challenges and techniques, that is common across the gap analyses, and retain information that is unique to a particular disability.

Note: The referenced gap analyses should not be quoted. They are works in progress. They do not necessarily represent consensus. They may have incorrect information; or information not supported by other task-force members, the WAI, or the W3C. They also may have some very-useful information. (This disclaimer paraphrases the one at the tops of the gap analyses.)

Proposed Infrastructure For Automatic-Accessibility Personalization

2014/04/29

The WC3‘s Cognitive and Learning Disabilities Accessibility Task Force received a presentation about a project called the “Global Public Inclusive Infrastructure” (GPII), from Gregg Vanderheiden, on March 31, 2014. Quoted below is a project description.

“The purpose of the Global Public Inclusive Infrastructure (GPII) is to ensure that everyone who faces accessibility barriers due to disabilityliteracydigital literacy, or aging, regardless of economic resources, can access and use the Internet and all its information, communities, and services for education, employment, daily living, civic participation, health, and safety.

As our countries build out their broadband infrastructures to ensure that broadband reaches everyone, it is important that ‘everyone’ includes people with disability, literacy and aging related barriers to Internet use. We need to be sure that we don’t stop at just connecting people to the Internet – but that we also see to it that they can actually use it, and benefit from all that it has to offer.

The GPII would not create new access technologies or services, but would create the infrastructure for making their development, identification, delivery, and use easier, less expensive, and more effective.  Like building a road system does not provide transportation but greatly enhances the ability of car companies and others to do so — and provides an infrastructure that car companies themselves cannot do. The Internet is the infrastructure for general information and commerce. The GPII enhancements to the Internet would provide the infrastructure to enable the Internet to be truly inclusive for the first time.

GPII is a paradigm shift.  The GPII will, for the first time, introduce automatic personalization of user interfaces and user context adaptation based on user preferences.  Each information and communication technology (ICT) device will be able to instantly change to fit users as they encounter the device, rather than requiring users to figure out how to adapt, configure or install access features they need.  It also introduces a system of shared components and services to reduce cost, increase interoperability, and foster innovation.”

The “GPII is a project of Raising the Floor, a consortium of academic, industry, and non-governmental organizations and individuals.”

Retrieved from http://gpii.net (Published June 30, 2010).

Note: No endorsement of the Global Public Inclusive Infrastructure and Raising the Floor is intended or implied.

2014 Boston Accessibility Conference – May 10 – Register Now!

2014/04/21

Register Now for the 2014 Boston Accessibility Conference!

When

  • Saturday, May 10, 2014, 9 AM to 5 PM

Where

What

This is a conference about making technology accessible, especially the web, but also mobile, games, and much more. It is an opportunity for designers, developers, usability professionals, accessibility experts, and end users to share information and learn from each other.

Who

Keynote Speaker:

  • Judy Brewer
  • Director of the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) at the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)
  • W3C Profile of Judy

Organizers include:

2014 sponsors include my own project, INDEX, which provides, to the public for free, information about programs, providers, and services for people with disabilities in Massachusetts.

Register Now for the 2014 Boston Accessibility Conference!

New W3C Task Force for Cognitive Accessibility

2014/04/07

A new task force has been formed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) to develop accessibility guidelines for people with cognitive disabilities. It is led by Lisa Seeman, a long-time expert and advocate. Task force members are well-known experts from all over the world.

I am a member, an “Invited Expert”. My current, primary responsibility is to create and manage volunteer research groups of people with disabilities and others. I participate in the weekly conference calls of the task force, which so far have consisted of brainstorming sessions, presentations, and organization by Lisa of the task force’s work. Our first teleconference occurred on January 20th of this year.

The task force is known as the “Cognitive and Learning Disabilities Accessibility Task Force (Cognitive A11Y TF)” of the Protocols and Formats Working Group, and the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines Working Group.

I plan to publish, to this blog, the information I can share about the task force’s work.

2013 Boston Accessibility Conference – September 28 – Register Now!

2013/09/09

Register Now for the 2013 Boston Accessibility Conference!

When

  • Saturday, September 28, 2013

Where

  • Microsoft New England Research & Development (NERD) Center
  • One Memorial Drive Cambridge, MA 02142

What

This is a conference about making technology accessible, especially the web, but also mobile, games, and much more. It is an opportunity for designers, developers, usability professionals, accessibility experts, and end users to share information and learn from each other.

Who

Organizers include:

2013 sponsors include my own project, INDEX, which provides, to the public for free, information about programs, providers, and services for people with disabilities in Massachusetts.

Register Now for the 2013 Boston Accessibility Conference!

2012 Boston Accessibility Conference – September 15 – Register Now!

2012/08/20

Register Now for the 2012 Boston Accessibility Conference!

When

  • Saturday, September 15, 2012

Where

  • Microsoft New England Research & Development (NERD) Center
  • One Memorial Drive Cambridge, MA 02142

Who

Organizers include:

2012 sponsors include my own project, New England INDEX, which provides information about programs and services for people with disabilities in Massachusetts.

Register Now for the 2012 Boston Accessibility Conference!

Boston Accessibility Unconference 2011: What, When, Where, Who

2011/08/25

What

When

Where

  • Microsoft New England Research & Development (NERD) Center
  • One Memorial Drive Cambridge, MA 02142
  • Directions

Who

Register Now!

Improving Web Searching for People with Cognitive Disabilities

2011/04/25

Using a website search tool is difficult for people with cognitive disabilities. Finding a relevant result is often thwarted by spelling errors they make, their inability to detect them, or a lack of understanding about how to correct them. Determining which search results are best can be equally difficult.

This post is a synopsis of an approach to circumventing such problems. An example has been implemented on a web site of the German Institute for Human Rights, which is an easy-to-read version of a United Nations convention on the rights of people with disabilities. A typically-appearing site search incorporates novel spelling-correction features and a simplified presentation of search results.

Spelling Correction

The site search suggests spelling alternatives only for words that actually appear within the content of the website. Searches for correctly-spelled words that produce no search results would be very frustrating for anyone.

To enable spelling suggestions, a manually-edited index of syntactically-similar words was created. Point values were assigned for similarities in the number of the same letters and the word length. A higher value was given to alternative words with the same first letter, but that was not essential.

To enable search-word spelling correction within the fewest steps possible, the most-similar alternatives are displayed in a word cloud. Of those, typically three, the one with the highest probability of matching the intended search word is presented in a larger text size.

Example Spelling Correction

The German word for “contact” is “kontakt”. Initiating a search with the misspelled word “kontat” produces a word cloud as shown in the following image.

Of the displayed three words, Kommunikation Kontakt Kunst, the second is shown in a larger font. All are hyperlinks.

The developers believe the word cloud makes it very easy to recognize the correctly-spelled word, and to select a search word. I don’t know why the first letters are capitalized.

Simplified Search Results

Search results are presented in plain language. Each has a bulleted, succinct summary of information on the linked page; and a contextually-relevant image to aid comprehension.

Example Search Result

The following image shows a single search result translated from German to English using Google Translate.

Contact - Here you will find: The address and telephone number of the German Institute for Human Rights. And a contact form.

One aspect of the search results I do not favor is that links to the search-result pages are not underlined. It is only when the cursor is hovered over a link, such as “Contact” in the example search result, that an underline appears.

Conclusion

I am impressed with this approach. This is the first time I have seen search results presented so simply, and with accompanying relevant imagery. I think the spelling-correction features are also worthwhile. In a pilot study of them, 9 of 34 people with learning disabilities could use the search site independently. I expect the developers will continue user testing. With funding and time, I would like to develop a site search using similar techniques.

Notes


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