There are two different ways to use Google Mail (Gmail) to send and receive email, each of which has its own unique accessibility considerations:
- The web interface
- By configuring a third-party client application (e.g., Outlook, Thunderbird, Apple Mail)
Accessibility Considerations for the Web Interface
Google provides two web-based user interfaces for Gmail - the Standard View and the basic HTML View. Gmail’s web interface works best with screen readers and browsers that support Accessible Rich Internet Applications (ARIA).
Basic Html View
The basic HTML View is primarily designed for browsers that do not support some of the more advanced techniques Gmail uses. The basic HTML view of Gmail has been enhanced to enable users with vision loss to use Gmail on the web to send and receive email.
The Standard View is the primary way people interact with Gmail, but has accessibility issues. For screen reader users, the Standard View is more accessible (yet still highly problematic) through the Chrome Browser using ChromeVox.
Web Interface Resources
- Google’s guide for using gmail with a screen reader
- Basic HTML guide - Using Gmail with screen readers
- Standard view guide - Using Gmail with screen readers
Alternatives and/or Workarounds
Gmail can also be accessed through any third party email application that supports IMAP or POP, such as Outlook, Thunderbird, or Mac Mail. While not all of the functionality of the Web-based version of Gmail is available to an email application, the basic mail functions will work. This is generally the most accessible option for many users. OIT provides instructions for how to synchronize your Gmail to different applications and devices on OIT’s Google Apps – Gmail page.
Additionally, students are permitted to set their CU email delivery location to a service of their choosing through CU Boulder’s Identity Manager tool. Any student is free to choose a third-party mail service they feel better suits their needs.
Additional Accessibility Information
- Screen readers with Standard View
- Screen readers with basic HTML View
- Configuring email clients with Gmail
- Keyboard shortcuts for Gmail
- ChromeVox extension for Chrome
- General Google documentation for accessibility
- Keyboard shortcuts for Outlook 2013
- Keyboard shortcuts for Outlook 2010
- Keyboard shortcuts for Outlook 2007
How to get Help
OIT has partnered with Disability Services to provide assistance for accessibility issues related to OIT supported services. If you need assistance, please contact the IT Service Center at email@example.com or at 303-735-4357.
We want to hear from you about this service. If you’re having problems using this service or you have more information about the accessibility of this service that we should share with others on this webpage, please let us know by contacting the IT Service Center at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 303-735-4357.
You can also give Google feedback regarding accessibility of their applications and services using Google's accessibility feedback form.