If you’re a regular reader of Telstra Exchange you might have noticed something different about this page today. Have a look around and see if you can spot it.

It’s not the colour spectrum at the top, it’s not the page layout… it’s that there’s no longer a field at the bottom of the page asking you a question to prove you’re a human and not a robot before you can post a comment.

That’s right, we’ve killed CAPTCHA.

Why? Because we want all our customers to have a brilliant experience with us, so I am really pleased that we’re helping people with vision impairment by removing CAPTCHA from our online Telstra pages.

An example of CAPTCHA

CAPTCHA or ‘Completely Automated Public Turing Test to tell Computers and Humans Apart,’ is where users are asked to enter a code to prove they are a real user. Often the letters and numbers are distorted, which makes it difficult for many people to accurately input the required code.

So while I’m the Chief Sustainability Officer at Telstra, there are some things I think should not be sustained – and one of these is making it difficult for people to participate in conversation due to accessibility issues.

While I’m writing about accessibility, we’ve also made a few other announcements recently about how we’re improving our services and supporting programs for people with disability:

  • Yesterday we announced the Telstra Foundation is providing grants to support Cerebral Palsy Alliance to deliver Life Labs, a unique laboratory for innovators, carers and clinicians to develop life changing solutions for people living with a disability, and the Independent Living Centre NSW to deliver a program helping young people with severe disability and complex communications needs to use smart devices to connect online. Both organisations will receive $500,000 over three years to carry out these projects.
  • We’ve launched a new portal on Telstra.com that allows customers to identify which mobile device in the Telstra post-paid range has features that will best suit their particular needs. The new portal lets users search for features that may assist specific disabilities such as hearing, speech, vision, cognitive and dexterity impairment.
  • We’ve added open captioning to 14 BigPond® movies, including The Lego Movie, Transcendence and Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom and we plan to continue to add open captions to new movie titles into the future, until we implement the technical solution required for closed captions.

These initiatives build on our longstanding commitment to improving access to communications for customers with disability, including our Disability Enquiry Hotline that has been operating since 1988 and our most recent Disability Action Plan.