Re: Using gmail with "Basic HTML view" vs. "standard view"

Rosemarie Chavarria

Hi, Nimer,

This sounds like a great thing to learn. How do you turn on the shortcut keys in gmail? I tried looking for it but couldn't find it.


On 5/5/2021 1:50 PM, Nimer Jaber wrote:


If Brian gets upset, we'll tell him to get over himself, but this topic is very dear to me, so we can make an exception, I am sure, for discussing non-NVDA topics on this list, although I will do my best to make it relate to NVDA.

Trainers are behind the curve on teaching people how to use web apps. Web app developers are creating these wonderful new accessible web apps, and blind people are still stuck with the old, non-web apps. This is a shame, a complete shame.

First, I recommend using Gmail on the web instead of Outlook as it does not require an office subscription. It does not require configuring and setting up of email clients. It can be used on any machine with a web browser. It is not necessarily screen reader specific, so for the most part, what works with JAWS will work with NVDA, will work with Narrator, will work with Orca, will work with Voiceover. About the only thing you must know is how to switch between browse and focus mode, or your particular screen reader's name for that command.

Why do I say that using Gmail with the standard interface is better than even the basic HTML mode? Because it is much more efficient to traverse through the email list, as long as keyboard shortcuts are turned on and learned. Press up/down arrow to move up and down the list. Press x to select messages. Press e or y to archive messages. Press # to delete them. Press enter to open a thread. Press n to read the next message in the thread, press p to read the prior message in the thread. Press r to reply, a to reply all, f to forward, b to snooze a message and act on it later. Press / to search the messages, and easily type the label name where that message can be found, such as in:sent or in:trash. Easily move messages and sort them into labels and bundles. Easily create events and tasks from emails. Easily chat with, and create meetings with people you wish to interact with, and do so right from Gmail if you wish. Press c to compose, press ctrl+shift+c to 'cc' and press ctrl+shift+b to BCC. Press ctrl+enter to send, ctrl+shift+d to discard. Press lots of commands to format text, create bulleted and numbered lists, adjust blockquote indentations, move to misspelled words, etc. Press tab to look through spelling and grammar suggestions, etc., etc. You can easily find a list of these keyboard shortcuts by pressing ? when logged into Gmail. If you don't like the shortcuts, you can create your own in the Gmail settings. And, much of what you learn can be applied to other sites, too. For instance, on Facebook and on Twitter, keyboard shortcuts exist to accomplish many tasks and to navigate to where you want to go, on YouTube Music and spottify, shortcuts exist to control music playback, and so on. Basic HTML mode doesn't have or allow for these shortcuts.

I wish trainers would touch more on web apps, but many still believe that the best way for people to access Gmail is through basic HTML, the best way to check email is with Outlook, and the best thing since sliced bread is a BrailleNote. Technology trainers can be some of the most difficult people to work with because many, not all, are so entrenched in what they know how to teach, how they learned to teach it, and what they themselves are using, that they refuse to open their minds to the possibility that there is a different way of teaching, a new standard out, new types of devices that may benefit people more than what they have been accustomed to. It's the same attitude that won't even show blind people an Android device, instead choosing that iOS is superior and should work best for everyone, never mind the needs and desires of the person they are working with.

So, if I can accomplish anything by sending this off-topic thread, and this babble, it is to get people to at least try to step out of the box, try something you may not be comfortable with, and accept that there may be tools and methods out there which will enhance your productivity and make your life easier that don't require struggling with Outlook and Thunderbird. By the way, I don't know if it is because checking email is so popular or what, but I tend to see more email-related qupestions across the varying tech lists with people struggling with Outlook and Thunderbird than pretty much anything else, and very few are using webmail, have given it a fair shot, and still fewer are using webmail through the standard interfaces. Google Docs is accessible, Gmail standard is accessible, Office 365 online web version is accessible, they may require a bit of a learning curve, but they are accessible and usable, and those tools tend to see the most work put into them these days in terms of accessibility and usability across many companies, simply because those tools can be used on Chromebooks, Macs, Linux, Windows, etc., without requiring separate desktop apps. All that is required is a browser and an Internet connection (not even a very fast one.)

On Wed, May 5, 2021 at 1:28 PM Louise Pfau <lpfau@...> wrote:
Hi.  I find it easier to navigate the gmail interface with “Basic HTML view” vs. “Standard view”.  This is probably due to the fact that when I was first taught how to set up and work with my gmail account, I was instructed to use “Basic HTML view” in order to get the most accessible interface. I know this is not strictly related to NVDA though.


Nimer Jaber

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