Roon software accessibility

Some background first. I am new to Roon and still in my trial period. Also I do not have any visual or motor impairments. But for various reasons, including what I do as my day job, software accessibility is pretty important to me.

So yesterday I thought I would see how the Roon interface measures up and I was a bit appalled to be honest.

I did not expect that this product would be so completely and utterly inaccessible to users with visual impairments (needing screen reader software) or those on computer relying on keyboards and other types of assistive technologies, such as switches.

I tried using VoiceOver on the iOS application and am unable to access anything at all in the application while the screen reader was active, let alone have any content in the application read out.

Then I tried the Windows application and with a keyboard I am unable to access anything at all as well, which, in turn also means that by default all Windows screen reader users are excluded.

I am putting this up here for awareness sake. Personally, for my own purposes, I am very happy with Roon but I cannot help wondering why such a premium interface would choose to completely exclude users who would very much be able to enjoy the sound quality and interface function simply because they have less vision or motor control than I do.

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It’s a known issue, and Roon Labs are aware of it. Better accessibility has been flagged as a Feature Request a number of times, e.g.:

Unfortunately, as @danny pointed out in that thread, Roon’s UI doesn’t use the built-in primitives of the OS (Windows or MacOS) for display, and it would take a complete redesign of the UI to do so.

Whether a future redesign of the UI will take this issue into account, only Roon Labs can say - and they have a policy of never (well, hardly ever) commenting on Feature Requests…

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Thanks for the info. I googled for Roon accessibility and somehow missed this one so it is good to know.

Also due to my day job it was immediately clear that making this accessible is a very large undertaking. If disabled users are not also prioritised right from the initial design phase, software always ends up in this situation.

Sadly this is root cause of the phrase ‘Accessibility costs to much to add’.

Let’s hope that this becomes a thing for Roon in the not too distant future.

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