Tuesday, October 18

A Nice Discovery

Greetings. In helping my friend Donna to set up her own blog on Live Journal, I had a pleasant surprise.

If you've been reading this blog for a long time, or even if you haven't, you might know of the visual verification code that many sites, including Google, are putting in their sign up process. Basically, they put this letter/number graphical code for you to type into an edit box, to attempt to keep spammers from signing up for whatever service it might be. Problem is, many screen readers that blind people use, are not able to detect the graphic, so we're not able to read the code and write it in. Google came under attack from various blind people in recent months for implementing this code but not giving the blind a way around the problem. In helping Donna to sign up for her blog, we found another one of those visual verification code deals on Live Journal. However, the difference here is that Live Journal has an alternative, where you type in "audio" to the edit field where you would put the verification code, and then you're given an audio clip, on the refreshed page, of a man speaking the characters. When Donna played the clip in Winamp, it was very clear to understand. Hotmail's audio clip is garbled and can be hard to understand, so I was really wondering how this clip from Live Journal would be.

I'm pleased that Live Journal has option for those that cannot read the graphical code on their site. It might even get me to switch to their service, but I've seen some things that make me think before making the switch, such as the number of "clickable" areas on their pages. And the fact that I would need to import all of my blog entries from Blogger to their service. I haven't looked at all of what they offer, but so far, it looks like a worthwhile service. And, given my discovery about how they handle the visual verification problem, the following question comes to mind: If Live Journal was able to implement such a simple solution to their service, and if they and Blogger are such close competitors, then how is it that its taken Blogger all summer to realize they had a problem, and then another while to actually fix it? (I haven't read if they "really" have fixed the problem yet, just that they're "working on it.")

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