New Sonos app breaks accessibility for visually impaired users, here’s what this advocate recommends


The new Sonos app launched today and was met with swift and intense backlash for removing many features and capabilities that long-standing customers value. While the company made an official statement on the matter, it hasn’t appeared to address a concerning issue – the update has broken accessibility for visually impaired users.

9to5Mac reader and host of the podcast “Living Blindfully”, Jonathan Mosen shared about the trouble with the new Sonos app on his blog along with a call to action.

We rely on Sonos to keep their end of the bargain and ensure that their updates adhere to good accessibility practices so their apps are accessible with screen readers such as VoiceOver on Mac and iOS, Talkback on Android, and various third-party screen readers for Windows.

Unfortunately, Sonos has breached that trust significantly, with a new app…

Jonathan highlights that one person “felt so overwhelmed by the user experience for VoiceOver users with the iOS app that he didn’t know where to begin reporting the issues.”

“For starters, it is really, really clunky and inefficient. The area where you can see your system, there are 3 or 4 swipes to get between each individual speaker, 5 depending on if it has a battery or not. There’s a button in the main nav bar that says system, but that button goes nowhere, from what I can determine, swiping through lists is basically impossible. They don’t properly scroll, and will randomly just jump you to the top of the screen. By randomly, I mean quite often. Next… You can’t explore the screen by dragging your finger around it. At all. This just simply does not work. It acts as if the screen is blank. There’s no way to navigate the different subsections of the main screen, because of this and just because it’s just all in one huge linear sweep.”

Part of the official Sonos response to the critical feedback was:

“It takes courage to rebuild a brand’s core product from the ground up, and to do so knowing it may require taking a few steps back to ultimately leap into the future.”

However, there wasn’t mention of breaking the app’s accessibility for vision-impaired users.

Jonathan’s call to action

Jonathan is asking for vision-impaired customers to join the Sonos AMA on May 14 to politely yet firmly give the company feedback and ask for a fix to repair the trust that’s been broken.

You can bookmark the AMA with Sonos leadership right here.

You can also read about all the missing features and other criticisms of the new Sonos app in this Reddit thread.

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

Read more

Local News