Request for a simplified, alternate, user interface

Roon’s wonderful utility has bulldozed over my hifi rig, and taken it over completely. CD player? With all my CDs ripped, who needs it? So it’s in the attic now, with all the CDs. Expensive turntable and all those shiny new albums? Attic. Sure, on my gear vinyl does sound better. But not so much better that it’s worth all the bother and space it takes up. The Roon juggernaut has transformed my music listening habits. It’s all Roon, all the time now. Easy access to my favorite music. Fabulous suggestions for new listening. Killer selections made for me with Roon Radio. Easy access to history of things I was recently enjoying. Who could ask for more? It’s all nothing but good. Almost.

It’s great for me. But it’s also destroyed high quality music listening for my wife, and anyone visiting my home. Now they all resort to having Alexa play mixes from Spotify on little Amazon hockey pucks to avoid using Roon. They’re happier putting up with crappy sound, rather than trying to navigate Roon’s interface.

Let’s face it, as wonderful as many of us feel it is, Roon’s interface is a playground for geeks. And too complicated for non-technical users. It needs a “Basic” mode. So people other than myself can enjoy my hifi. Or maybe I need to pull the CD player and CDs, and turntable and albums, out of the attic?

I’m not going to pretend that I know everything that a “Basic” mode would do, but I think I know a few.

  • First, configuration options would be hidden.
  • No clickable things that bring up more clickable options. Selecting anything on screen would have a result, and that result would not be something that requires an additional decision/action. You click something, and you get the result you were looking for. Period. No intermediate steps.
  • And the user specific tailoring of the user experience would be comprehensive. It would spare my wife from having to look at the tons of music in my library that she cares little about. It would only have the subset of music in my library that she selects. And maybe even some music from Tidal or Qobuz that I don’t particularly care for. Or want to see. And most important; any thumbs up/down, reasons for skipping songs from Roon Radio, and any other indication of personal preference would be just that; personal, and stored - and used - on a user specific basis.

For me this would give my hifi back to my wife and household visitors. But for Roon Labs, it would open Roon up new markets; not the least of which being people currently shying away from purchases due to complexity. Sure, the underlying architecture would remain complex. But there’s still something to be said for technology that - once properly set up - a child could use. I’m the only one in my house that knows how to properly set up an Operating System on the PC’s in my house, but everyone still uses them once I’ve set them up. Roon should be no different.

So, I submit this request for an alternative Roon interface; a simpler one.

And please, to be clear, this is not “Roon for Dummies”. I know it’s tempting to go there, but being uncomfortable with Roon’s interface complexity does make someone stupid. Far from it.

And in closing, I know this is a big, big ask. But it is something that I hope will be considered as the smart folks at Roon Labs continue to improve their product.


Um, shouldn’t you have this posted in the Feature Request category of the forum? I’ll get me coat… :slightly_smiling_face:

Roon should hire a designer of this century and not someone who still design like we’re still in the 90s…the whole interface looks like itunes 20 years ago…but that was free while here we pay a lot of money just to manage some files :slight_smile:


Oops… Yes. Thanks.

Mods, can you help by moving this? Thanks. :slight_smile:

Quickly done. Thank you. :slight_smile:

Rather than throw rocks, how about naming some examples of music apps with a great modern UI?

But this would go against Roon’s credo of ‘We can do with three clicks what others do with one!’ and ‘They scroll in one direction only - we do both!’

You can look at almost every recent iOS app and see where the design is going in recent years, from typefaces, shadows, gradient and so on. I do this everyday so I kwow what I’m talking about.

Roon is probably made by excellent engineers but the total lack of design is astonishing.

The same goes for all the apps that manage streamers…they’re all crap


Take Marvis Pro for example. It’s sweet, very customizable, supports gestures, supports drag & drop, has contextual menus, has great search and best of it all: it does’t look like that it is so powerful.

I can choose the icon size by myself, let my classical genres be sorted by composer if I want to, I can chose the shape for the artwork (eg. circles for artists, square for tracks or even hide them), I can customize the main menu, it has 120 Hz scrolling …


Perhaps Roon shouldn’t be looking at just other music software, but DAM (digital asset management) software in general. Lots to be gleaned from the likes of Lightroom etc in how to design an interface.

Lightroom - oh, dear god, no! I use it and hate it. It’s like JRiver - click a menu, and the options roll out until the crack of doom, whilst the house lights dim.


Good point. I don’t look to apple as a beacon of great UI.

Maybe not the best example, I know, but my point was Roon need to take a look around. Personally, I would switch to Capture One in a heartbeat if their cataloging system was better. So every software has its strengths and weaknesses.

Just as a point of clarity, my OP was not a request for a different interface, just a simpler alternative interface.

Simpler could be nothing more than carving out some the very, very many options (and clickable things) we have now, leaving a more austere form of the same interface presently deployed.

My 4 year old would much rather talk to Alexa and Google than hit light switches. It doesn’t make the light switch a bad thing. All this tells me is that your family thinks voice is better than interacting with physical UI. When I want to just play something I know, I would agree with them.


That’s a reasonable conclusion. But I know that’s not it, as my friends and relatives don’t really “know” Alexa that well. They just aren’t comfortable with the current - richly functional - Roon interface.

However, I will bring up a point that IMO is worth consideration… the reticence I see in others to use Roon in its present incarnation could be generational. I’m a geek, so I don’t count. But my family and friends aren’t geeks, and are all about my age, which is in our 60’s. So maybe this is not such a problem with younger people that cut their teeth with some kind of electronic device in their hands.

If that’s the case, then any market for a simpler interface is getting older, and smaller, all the time. :wink:

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My music system and Roon is for my use only.

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For sure! Even smart people sometimes roll in at 3 in the morning, half-wasted and half-baked, and want a simple way to put on some pleasing sounds.

Agreed - and we’ve been asking for this differentiator to be present in Profiles for a while now. Roll on version 1.8?

Conduct an experiment to see if you are right.

Pick a “simpler” app… like TIDAL or Qobuz phone/tablet app for example. See if your family and friends use the app instead of Alexa. If you are right, they will prefer the simpler app over Alexa. If I’m right, they will use Alexa regardless.