Have you ever been browsing the web, wanting to submit a form on a site, and you are confronted with an Edit Field with the caption, "Type the numbers in the graphic?" I have. These graphical images are known as CAPTCHAS.
I remember last Christmas we wanted to book tickets for a concert and I had to get past one of these images. But in addition to leisure, I do come across these inaccessible edit fields in both my professional and radio work.
To be fair, many site authors have now implemented either audio equivalents of the images and/or questions to answer. But often, the audio reproduction of figures or letters to type cannot be heard clearly, leaving some room for doubt as to which characters should be entered.
I used to use a plugin for Mozilla Firefox, Webvisum, to solve this problem. But it stopped being supported a few years back, and I have to be honest and say I am by no means a fan of that browser.
So, when Accessible Apps yesterday released a utility appropriately entitled CAPTCHA BE GONE,I was keen to give it a try. Support is available for Internet Explorer and Firefox, with other browsers being worked on, so there's plenty of flexibility with more to follow.
How Does it Work?
The concept is that you sign up for an account. Access is granted to you on a yearly or monthly basis depending upon the price plan chosen. As an example at present, the yearly price plan is $33 which is £25. The current price for the monthly plan is $3, which is just over £2. So for the price of a cup of coffee, for a month all your frustrations will be gone when solving these CAPTCHAS.
While operation with browsers will differ, in terms of Internet Explorer, when focused on the troublesome web page you can simply activate the Context Menu, Up Arrow to reach "Solve CAPTCHA", and press Enter. You are advised to "Please Wait", and, following a pause of about 20 seconds, you will be asked if you would like Internet Explorer to access your Windows clipboard. If you allow this by pressing the Space Bar on the appropriate button, the text of the image is copied to it. If you choose not to do this, you will be able to select the text of the image yourself using standard Windows techniques, and copy it thereafter. Whichever option is selected, you can read the text of the image, and press ALT+F4 to close.
Assuming the text is now on the Clipboard, simply paste it into the field on the page designed for the purpose.
While I have seen a question posed on Twitter as to why there is not a keystroke to solve the CAPTCHAS within Internet Explorer as there is in other browsers, I really do not think this is a huge problem. To repeat, it is available on the Context Menu, and given that easy-to-remember keystrokes are at a premium, having access to it using this method keeps it well out of the way until you really need it.
Accessible Appsare the developers of the popular QRead and Chicken Nugget applications, used by hundreds of blind people around the world. While there may be other applications which offer similar functionality, I feel they do not include the flexibility which these two programs deliver. I would not choose to use anything else if possible. This service, CAPTCHA Be Gone, promises to offer the same high quality service as the applications mentioned above. I wish the company every success with this new offering. Thanks to Accessible Apps for making what was an extremely frustrating experience a trouble-free one.