Several weeks ago I wrote about the difficulties I, as a blind person have experienced in using the contact form on the FCO’s website. The FCO employs a visual CAPTCHA (a puzzle which must be solved prior to the user being able to contact the FCO). The theory is that such CAPTCHA can not be solved by automated systems so only humans can post thereby defeating bots used to post spam. In practice many of these CAPTCHAS are difficult for sighted people to solve let alone visually impaired people. In the case of the FCO they do have an audio alternative, however, after several tries I was not able to solve the CAPTCHA and I contacted the FCO (using their freedom of information email address which is, ironically not protected by CAPTCHA) to alert them to the difficulties which I, as a blind computer user had experienced when attempting to contact them.
I am pleased to report that the FCO have now included the address, for their webmaster on the form so that visually impaired people who can not use it have an alternative means of contacting the FCO. Ideally I’d like to see the complete abandonment of CAPTCHA, however this is, in my view an acceptible compromise for those people who, like me could interpret neither the visual nor the audible alternative CAPTCHA.
I am pleased that my new website (favourite-poems.com) appears to be getting a fair number of hits. However the site hasn’t yet shown up in Google’s search results. I guess I need to be patient but it will be nice to see favourite-poems.com appearing in Google and other search engines.