11 November 2005

I've been wondering

There's something I've been wondering about for a few days now, so I thought I'd just throw it out there. You know the (relatively) new comment-spam prevention measure in use on many blogger.com blogs, whereby the commenter has to type in a validation code consisting of five or six random letters? And you know how the presentation of the code is kind of warped and skewed, so that it is not machine-readable?

Well, it occurred to me that that those codes might be pretty difficult for people with dyslexia, mightn't they? I don't really know very much about dyslexia, but as I understand it, it is often charaterised by difficulties with reading and writing (especially spelling) that are disproportionate to the sufferer's level of intelligence. So, if dyslexic people have difficulty decyphering and writing real words, could it not be expected that they'd have particular trouble with random strings of letters that don't have any meaning? And if so, mightn't that make it almost impossible, or at least an extremely frustrating process of trial and error, for dyslexic people to leave comments on blogs with that random letter code "feature" enabled? I don't know, I'm just wondering aloud, based on the fact that despite not being dyslexic, I have on several occasions managed to type in the wrong code and had to try again in order to post a comment on such blogs.

This Wikipedia article on dyslexia
suggests that between 5 and 15% of the population can be diagnosed as having dyslexia. That's quite a high percentage. Assuming that dyslexic people are similarly represented in cyberspace as in the real world, and assuming that this code nonsense really is troublesome for them, that's quite a lot of people who are going to struggle to leave comments, right?

Does anyone reading this have any experience with this potential problem? Is there anyone who is dyslexic who can either confirm or deny my suspicions? I'd be very interested to know.