24 March 2007

Typepad hinders Typing!!

I usually love to rant about features in blogger making life difficult for users, but this post is different. Today I compared a feature on blogger with a similar one on typepad and guess which one sucked!

In this age of spam bots find different ways to put link spam in any place they can find, one commonly used technique to avoid them is the captcha technology. With this technology, a user trying to fill and submit a form is asked to fill in another field in the form with characters displayed in the corresponding image. The server generates a new image every time the page is loaded and most of the spam bots are incapable of deciphering the images. So as most of the spam bots cannot read the image, they can't fill in the verification and hence the post cannot be submitted. It is a pretty simple technique and has achieved a lot of success.

However, the technology has its flaws or should I say unintended captchas. Today I set out to log a comment on a typedpad blog post. It was a simple two line response which should have taken just a minute or so. However, I ended up trying to get the response submitted for about 10minutes! Their word verification captcha asked me to fill in the characters from the image. But the person who wrote the code for their captcha implementation probably didn't know how much to obscure the characters and has several random lines on it making it really hard to read even by a human let alone a bot! It took me 6 tries to get the verification done.

Not only they have made the verification task so confusing, but they don't give the user any other choice e.g. an audio clip! Wait, the audio clip should be there regardless as a visitor could be visually impaired and might not be able to decipher even an unobscured image. Blogger is much better in this respect as their image is clean (although the characters can be a bit jagged) and they also offer audio help (hasn't worked on Linux for me though). For TypePad it is a serious accessibility problem and is a big show stopper for me at least. So from now on, typepad comments are probably not going to happen let alone getting an account on typepad!

Update: June contacted Typepad and they told her that they are working on it. I hope they get it sorted out soon.

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