Gmail's Simple View Is Being Removed

The Simple HTML view was designed for older web browsers and slow internet connections.

Gmail's Simple View Is Being Removed

Google plans to stop offering the simple and easy-to-use Basic HTML view for Gmail in January 2024. Instead, everyone currently using this mode will be required to switch to the Standard view. Many users are not happy with this change because they liked the lightweight and classic design of Basic HTML. It was also more accessible for people using screen readers and other tools.

The reasons behind this change are not very clear. A Google spokesperson mentioned that Basic HTML is an old version of Gmail that was replaced by newer versions more than 10 years ago, and it doesn't have all the features of modern Gmail. Some people think this might be Google's way of encouraging users to use new Gmail features like AI integration and verified senders. It's also possible that it has something to do with Google's Privacy Sandbox, which is how they collect and use user data in a world where web cookies are less common. The support document from Google mentions "security" in a vague way, so there could be some security concerns as well.

Some Gmail users might not be aware of the Basic HTML view, and its discontinuation may not affect them. To put it simply, Basic HTML view was originally created for two types of users: those with slow internet connections and those who stuck with Internet Explorer even after Microsoft stopped supporting it a few years ago.

Nowadays, having a decent internet connection is more common, and Internet Explorer is no longer the preferred browser for many people. However, for those who liked Gmail's old-school look or for older family members who are used to it, this news can be frustrating.

Additionally, some blind and visually impaired users relied on Basic HTML view because Gmail's standard view didn't always work well with third-party screen readers and similar tools. This was mainly because Google frequently made changes and updates to Gmail, and different users could see slightly different interfaces at any given time. Basic HTML view, on the other hand, remained the same for a decade, which made it more compatible with screen readers and other assistive technologies. When asked about accessibility, Google referred to a list of Gmail's accessibility features.

Certainly! Gmail's regular view should work for everyone. It's not okay that some people have to use Basic HTML mode, even if it's just a simple backup when something goes wrong. Hopefully, if Basic HTML mode goes away, Google will start paying more attention to making Gmail easier to use for everyone. If that doesn't happen, there are other email programs like Thunderbird that you can use instead.

Source: The Register

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