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The internet thinks you’re a robot, and other ‘dark patterns’ people with disabilities face online: ABC

Interest in the area of digital access appears to be receiving more mainstream interest in Australia with the ABC writing an article relating to online dark patterns and how they affect people with a disability.

In the article, titled The internet thinks you’re a robot, and other ‘dark patterns’ people with disabilities face online, journliast Ariel Bogle discusses the challenges faced by people with disabilities due to web accessibility, current government policy and CAPTCHA. Due to several of these issues overlapping with my work, I was invited to share a few thoughts for the article. The first part of the article is as follows:

Scott Hollier logged into an online portal recently, and was immediately faced with a familiar yet irritating internet question: “How many of these pictures include buses?”

CAPTCHA security tests, or the “Completely Automated Public Turing Test, to Tell Computers and Humans Apart”, are not always accessible to people with disabilities — sometimes putting them, ridiculously, in the “robot” category.

“I had two choices,” said Dr Hollier, a digital access specialist who is legally blind.

“I could either not do what I needed to do for my work. Or I could ask my 11-year-old son to come figure it out for me.”

The article continues to discuss the issues of dark patterns and explores the challenges accessibility causes along with the importance of WCAG 2.1 and the need for people with a disability to be involved in user testing.

While it was exciting in itself to be given the opportunity to contribute to the article, it’s even more exciting that this is the second news story in recent months on the tpic, following on from the ABC article Call for online disability access standards for computers from Equal Opportunity Commission posted in April.

Thanks to Ariel for the opportunity to contribute to the article and again great to see continued reporting of digital access issues and the need to improve Australian policy and legislative frameworks.

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