How to Keep a Blind Chick Busy for Hours

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:

  1. Go to sign in page. Realize you don’t remember your password.
  2. Click “Forgot your password?” link.
  3. Go to password reset page with visual captcha.
  4. Search for audio captcha, find none. Find link that says, “Having trouble or visually impaired?” Click that.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

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6 thoughts on “How to Keep a Blind Chick Busy for Hours

  1. Must be a week for having such problems. I was having trouble of the same sort, with passwords and captcha verifications myself. Those suckers get me every time. Now they have some with photos instead of the obscured squigglies. It asked me to pick out all photos with ice cream. All of the photos had whipped toppings, so it was hard to figure out which ones had ice cream also. So I failed on that one, but correctly Identified the waffles in the next one.
    Amazon came through for me, so I toughed out the learning curve and have been a customer of theirs for over 15 years. My mother on the other hand refuses to even have an account with them. She finds their whole process to be a tremendous leap of faith, so I make purchases for her on occasion.
    I hope you have better experiences with them in the future. Having packages delivered seems to cheer me up and saves me from running around looking for stuff. Instead I sit around for hours …..lol.

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    1. The picture captchas sound almost fun, like a hidden object game – until you miss something and they shut you out!

      I did get an email from Amazon customer service earlier today. They apologized for my trouble and told me I could call customer service 24/7 for a manual reset. I already reset my password with my son’s help, so there’s no need.

      I want to reset my password online like everyone else! lol But at least there is a way I can do it if I need to.

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    1. Yes! I know site owners have to have a way to weed out spam and bots, but it’s hard to do that and not weed out actual people, too.

      I’ve actually seen a few I like. A blog I read used to have a checkbox you checked to “Prove you are not a spammer.” I’ve also seen one that was a simple math problem, like 3+2=__ and you filled in the blank.

      I don’t usually mind the audio ones, though some letters can be difficult and I always worry that they’re case-sensitive. But Yahoo! has an audio captcha that has droning static in addition to the numbers and letters. It’s awful! (And I know audio captchas aren’t universally accessible either.)

      I’m not sure what the answer is, but at least in Amazon’s case, it turned out there is a way I can get assistance.

      Thanks for dropping by, and for leaving a comment!

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  2. I also sometimes have issues with captchas. I have used the zoom hot key on more than one occasion. On top of that I usually keep a magnifying glass handy. The eyes are not as go as they used to be.

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