WebAIM - Web Accessibility In Mind

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Re: Is email accessible?


From: Randi
Date: Apr 25, 2009 10:50AM

Hi Terril,

I use web based gmail and I like it. I have to use the basic html
version, because the standard view is too fancy for the reader. Most
other blind people I've talked to about email with, use their
computer's email program. My Windows friends use Outlook, and my Apple
friend's have imported their gmail accounts to Apple's email program
using their pop addresses. They like it because it notifies them of
new emails. I have not tried this yet, because i was a gmail user
before I went blind and I'm just used to the webbased email. I like it
because it combines all emails in one subject into a thread.

The thing I find annoying a lot, is when messages are quoted in
replies. I've noticed that on this one a lot, where a previous message
is quoted before a reply, or people reply within a quote to answer
infividual questiosns. This can be hard because I have to scroll
through the quotes to find the replies. I also use the quick reply
function in gmail. Its a text edit box right below the message. When
all messages in a discussion are photed with a person's reply and I
don't realize it, I end up scrolling through all that to get to my
quick reply box. I think once I learn to navigate with headers, this
won't be so frustrating.

I am one of the few web based email users I know of, with all the
other blind and visually impaired people I talk to. They all think I'm
nuts for using the web based gmail. I just stick to what I know
though, and thats web based.

Just my two cents. :)

PS-This might be an interesting survey for webaim to conduct.

On 4/24/09, Terrill Thompson < <EMAIL REMOVED> > wrote:
> We talk a lot in the web accessibility arena about the importance of
> structure (e.g., HTML headings, list elements, etc.) in order to communicate
> organization and facilitate navigation, which is especially helpful for
> screen reader users. Since plain text email has none of this explicit
> structure, and is sometimes downright unwieldy when it contains many layers
> of quotes within quotes within quotes, I find myself wondering: Is this a
> technology whose time has come? Should we all be moving to web-based forms
> of communications? Or do the benefits of plain text email outweigh its
> shortcomings?
> Thanks for any thoughts or insights.
> Terrill Thompson
> Technology Accessibility Specialist
> DO-IT, Accessible Technology
> UW Technology Services
> University of Washington
> 206/221-4168