OE Classic’s 2.7 is finally free and more accessible

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Generally, I am happy with my copy of Thunderbird portable that’s backed up in the cloud but I do understand the need to bring back things like Outlook Express and Windows Mail. They were for people who used one computer and didn’t want to have their email backed up in some folder in the cloud. I get it, I really do, even if I see no need to use anything like Outlook Express again, I seriously do understand why so many people liked it and why so many people cling to the old Windows Live Mail. It’s accessible, and, most importantly, it just works.

It’s unclear how long it will work though because Microsoft is slowly killing it. Slowly, I should say.

I’m happy to say that there’s a more modern, retro, alternative out there that’s coming into its own. It’s also becoming more accessible too. the email client is called OE Classic.

OE Classic is for windows, as far as I know. It accesses email through POP servers at this point but I’m sure IMAP support won’t be very far behind.

I heard about this little alternative some time ago and decided to try it out. It was barely accessible with NVDA. I wrote to them to see how they would respond. Their answer was, basically,

“Thank you for your email but we are a very small team and accessibility is very hard to think about! Like, it’s hard to even think about. Seriously! It’s in the works though. It’s going to be a slow process but you can sit back and twiddle your thumbs while you wait.”

I didn’t believe them at first because companies pay lip service to accessibility and then never actually do anything about it. Just to have the last word, I replied with, basically,

“Fine. You won’t be getting any of my money then until I see some commitment. Also, my thumbs are too small to twiddle. Thank you very much.”

I forgot about the company after that. Why should I even bother when I had an accessible alternative? I thought. I said my peace and now I was going to be on my way.

Months later they informed me about 2.7 coming

Today, I tried it.

The update has some other enhancements that would greatly benefit low vision people but a lot of the application is still very much inaccessible to screen readers. Screen reader users won’t be able to change any settings in the options dialogue but they were, indeed, true to their word. I could navigate the account wizard with NVDA when I couldn’t before.

They did make accessibility progress but I don’t know how committed they are to making their software accessible. They are testing with NVDA rather than that piece of shit JAWS so at least it will be more compliant than otherwise.

By the way here’s the correct RSS feed. The RSS link on their news page is broken. I don’t know y.

This version seems to be a lot faster too! I access my mail through IMAP and I didn’t want to dig up my old outlook mail account to try this out so I checked to see what menus read. The options menu is completely inaccessible but the good thing is some options can be changed in other areas of the menu bar. Unfortunately, dialogue messages still don’t read. Accessibility is a work in progress though. It isn’t just lip service.

This is good. I’m happy they told me the truth. This is saying a lot, when you consider the folks who tell us to please just shut up and go away, like the folks at Telegram! They, for instance, just tell us to shut up and use the web version, because it’s kind of accessible.

Still, will I support this company financially? I don’t know. We will see. they need to keep demonstrating they deserve my money.

So far, so good. We will see, though.