Revised audio captcha is too difficult for most users

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Revised audio captcha is too difficult for most users Paul Lynch 6/11/12 1:55 PM
The audio recaptcha has always been tough, but now it is far too difficult.  I do understand the challenge you were solving, having read  http://arstechnica.com/security/2012/05/google-recaptcha-brought-to-its-knees/ , and I realize that a hackable captcha is not useful, but neither is a captcha that cannot be solved by humans.  This post is just to say, "please keep working on it", because a better version is most definitely needed.  Here are some data points:

1) We are paying a blind user to evaluate our web site.  He spent four hours trying various ways to solve the audio captcha, with no success.  He is somewhat elderly, but generally his hearing is fine, although it might be that you'll find older people have more difficulty.
2) One of our developers (not a native-english speaker) tried six different audio captchas without success.
3) A second developer who tried it was hearing "words" in the background noise and entering those.  I had to coach her on what to listen for.
4) It took me three audio captchas before I was able to solve one, and to do that I had to type the words in Notepad, and keep replaying various segments of the audio while editing my Notepad text.  On that one, the first parts of two words were two soft to hear, but I was able to guess them from the last parts of the words.  On the first two captchas I tried, there was at least one word that I just could not make out, no matter how many times I replayed it.

--Paul
Re: Revised audio captcha is too difficult for most users reCAPTCHA Support 6/11/12 3:53 PM
Paul,

Thanks for your email.  We are actively working on the audio captcha.

Best,

The reCAPTCHA Team.
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Re: Revised audio captcha is too difficult for most users Anita Foley 6/21/12 5:38 AM
Hi there,

I just wanted to jump on to this thread to possibly increase the priority of resolving this issue with the new revised audio reCAPTCHA.

I've been conducting a large amount of testing using both the text based and audio based reCAPTCHA for a dissertation I am writing. Out of the 30 tests completed so far, only one user has been able to successfully pass the audio reCAPTCHA test. Even the most experienced blind user was unable to pass the revised reCAPTCHA audio tests even after multiple attempts.

This is clearly unacceptable and will cause a large number of sites using reCAPTCHA to become inaccessible for users with visual impairments and learning difficulties. The quicker this issue can be resolved the better I think.

Thanks,
Anita
Re: Revised audio captcha is too difficult for most users Bruce Darby 6/27/12 7:09 AM
Hi there,
Sorry just realised I started a new post when this one already existed. I'll try and delete my one. What I said was the following:

Some of the audio challenges seem much easier than others. Is the way they are served up completely random? I had a look at the customisation options and it doesn't look like you can change the audio settings at all. Is that correct? The numbers challenge is much easier than the word challenge. Is it possible to set it so that you only get the numbers challenge. It's just that I think this could make a big difference to screen reader users. If you have a look at the WebAIM screen reader survey they say that 70% of screen reader users find captcha very difficult - http://webaim.org/projects/screenreadersurvey4/#captcha

Also is it possible to customise the help section? I think it would help visually impaired users to be a little bit more specific about what words are likely when getting the word audio challenge e.g. likely to be days of week, months of year, numbers and a random selection of words such as season, baseball, toothbrush etc. And if you need to attempt 10 words but you only need to get 9 right it would be good to see it say that. I'm sure I saw someone type in facebook for baseball but it still accepted this. This makes it easier for blind screen reader users but it's only helpful if they know about it.

I've heard 3 different styles of audio challenges - numbers, random words and clips from films. Are there any more styles?
Thanks very much for any help.
Re: Revised audio captcha is too difficult for most users Bruce Darby 6/27/12 7:32 AM
Just read your link to arstechnica and it's starting to make more sense now! I didn't realise the audio was such a problem and that it's being worked on which is why it keeps changing. I still think that making the help section say more than "Visually impaired users can click the audio button to hear a set of words that can be entered instead of the visual challenge." would really help screen reader users.
If you stick with the current numbers challenge you could maybe just update that news to say 'numbers' instead of 'words' and that you need to enter 12 numbers.
If you move back to a word based one then just telling people the sort of things they are likely to hear allows people to tune in much quicker. Also how many words there are going to be and the sort of mistakes they can get away with.
Re: Revised audio captcha is too difficult for most users RS Austin 12/9/12 8:35 PM
Work harder.

The audio captcha is STILL incomprehensible gibberish.

Here's something to motivate the idiots making these things AND the text captchas, sit them down in front of one of their own captchas and deduct $1 from their paychecks for every freaking letter they get wrong.   In an hour, they'll be in worse debt than Europe.

It's REALLY not that hard, there are TONS of examples of decent captchas THAT WORK on the web.   Fire the morons who are making these.
Re: Revised audio captcha is too difficult for most users J Brabec 4/2/13 2:38 AM
Must be an evil faction in Google Inc!  Google developers, please be more user friendly.  I wasted a chunk of time with your reCaptcha garbage - can't adjust difficulty of level of challenge words or audio.  Don't become Yahoooooooooo's!
Re: Revised audio captcha is too difficult for most users Michael Batt 5/30/13 2:07 PM
Wouldn't the obvious solution here be for the user to be prompted to identify the source of a sound bite, and for the site to then play a common but widely recognised  animal/machine/instrument noise? You could play 2 seconds of, for example, opera, bird song or traffic, to most people, and they would instantly recognise it. Numbers and letters are hard even without distortion, that's why we have the NATO phonetic alphabet.