It’s an old gag. You hand someone a card printed with the words:
“How do you keep a [blank] busy for hours?
See other side for answer.”
The other side, of course, contains the exact same message.
It doesn’t really matter what you fill in the blank with, because the purpose isn’t so much to denigrate any particular group as to inflict the “Gotcha” on your intended victim.
I got to play a version of this game today, thanks to Amazon.com.
Here’s how Amazon’s version of this little game works:
- Go to sign in page. Realize you don’t remember your password.
- Click “Forgot your password?” link.
- Go to password reset page with visual captcha.
- Search for audio captcha, find none. Find link that says, “Having trouble or visually impaired?” Click that.
- Go to contact page, where you are offered your choice of Phone customer support, Email customer support, or Comment on app. Click Email customer support.
- Go to login page, which asks for your email address and password, which you have already confirmed you don’t know.
I did get my password reset and log in to my account, thanks to a sighted family member who was able to complete the captcha for me. But I should have been able to do it without sighted assistance.
When I finally logged in, the site took me to the customer support contact form, so I took a moment to describe my experience. We’ll see if I get an answer.
I will say that Amazon’s page recognized right away that I was using a screen reader and at least once offered advice that helped me navigate a potentially tricky spot. The site appears to be using more headers and other features which make it easier to navigate and use.
But relying on video captchas is a serious impediment, both to visually impaired users and to anyone else with a print disability.
I hope it’s something they plan to change.