Google announced on its Support Page that it will discontinue the Basic HTML version of Gmail in January 2024.
The company did not provide a specific reason for the change, but said that the Basic HTML view is “a previous version of Gmail that was replaced by its modern successor 10+ years ago and does not include full Gmail feature functionality.”
The Basic HTML view was introduced over a decade ago to provide users with a faster, less resource-intensive way to access Gmail on older or outdated devices with slower connection speeds. However, it lacks many of the features found in the Standard view, such as chat, spell checker, search filters, and keyboard shortcuts.
Google has made the Basic HTML view more difficult to find in recent months, and some users have criticized the company for discontinuing the feature without considering the needs of the visually impaired. However, Google insists that it is “committed to making accessibility a core consideration” and lists many accessibility features in Gmail, such as screen reader support and hands-free email.
The discontinuation of Gmail Basic HTML view is likely to have a negative impact on visually impaired users who rely on the feature to access their email. The Standard view of Gmail is not as accessible as the Basic HTML view, and some visually impaired users may find it difficult to use without additional assistive technology.
Google has stated that it is committed to making Gmail accessible to all users, but it is unclear what steps the company will take to support visually impaired users who are affected by the discontinuation of Basic HTML view.