GOOGLE is killing off a beloved Gmail feature which has left fans fuming.
Gmail users who use the site’s HTML Basic View mode won’t be able to do so from January 2024 onwards.
After this date, Gmail will only be available in Standard view as a default option, according to a notice on the company’s support page.
HTML Basic View is essentially what Gmail’s design looked like in 2007.
It is often used by people with slow Wi-Fi connections.
This is because it doesn’t need to load-in some of Gmail’s Standard view features, such as the chat box, spell check or the importing of contacts.
However, blind technology expert Pratik Patel has warned that retiring HTML Basic View will be a major blow to the blind and partially sighted community.
“I know many #blind people who use GMail’s HTML view,” he wrote in a Mastodon post.
“Not only will they be confused but will be unhappy.”
HTML Basic View made using screen reader technology much easier for blind people.
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The Standard interface has become more usable to blind people, but many stick to the basic HTML version because its what they know.
Many Mastodon users chimed in to say that this is the latest occurrence of ‘Big Tech’ rowing back on accessibility features.
“I’m not arguing or saying that the standard interface isn’t accessible,” Patel continued.
“I find it a pretty good one and I’ve been using it for many many years.
“It has a certain cognitive load over the HTML interface.
“Some people will not be ready or able to use the standard interface.”
Gmail had been ignoring default settings and switching HTML Basic users to the Standard view in recent months, one user claimed, suggesting the death knell has been a longtime coming.
He suggested fans to bookmark the link that can be used to access HTML View.
So fans can access it via that route instead of loading Gmail through a web link or app and using the Standard version.
Although, it’s always possible that Google deletes the link from the support page after January 2024.
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