Over Age 50 and Can't Read Controller 5.0


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Sonos is a great wireless High Fidelity system. I own 9 units, representing almost every type of component they make, and have been enjoying music and radio feeds all along... until... Rev 5.0.

Hate to say it, but they finally reached the "Peter Principal" of Product Design... now it has 99 number redial, 64 microwave settings and print the size of a cheap fortune cookie. All the while I just needed to reach my 6 closest friends, nuke a hotdog and find out what I needed to be doing "in bed" later tonight.

I can no longer make my hearty recommendation to my fellow AARP members because they lost their easy-to-use edge with their hard to read, hard to navigate interface.

The problem is not with the user, the issue is with the designers that are 20-somethings and still able to read the fine print on the bottom of the tequila bottle and have the manual dexterity and memory imbedded in youth.

C'mon... am I alone in the woods on this one? Evidently, I'm told, that they prefer to make improvements based on the rants of reviewer/users that know a post is not a fence, and that these threads are not for sewing.

We need a genuinely accessible option for the Controller App that considers Universal Design and ADA-like ground-floor features that let those with the least ability use a tool at the same level as those with the most ability. It's possible. Ramps are good for wheelchairs and skateboards.

Geeze... even this forum has the ability to increase font!

Join me!! Rant against the machine!!!

Should SONOS make alt Controller Apps avail for accessibility?


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14 replies

Kjameson,

First post! Welcome to the forums.

The 20 something designers have forgotten that that the dull, over the hill gang invented all of the underlying technology that the 20 somethings are claiming as their own. And the 20 somethings will never suffer the visual fate that is plague of their own grandparents.

It's a shame because in the current economy, the over the hill gang has money to spend and they are feathering their empty nest. The 20 somethings have ambition, but not much cash.
Userlevel 2
Thanks for your reply. If I could upload my side-by-side images of the old vs new controller app I think it would help good-intentioned programmers better understand how contrast, font size and typeface play a role in making apps more 50-friendly.
Kjameson,

I'm not as optimistic as you are. I think that they would view the former scheme as dowdy. Early on for the former controller, the contrast was not very good and unless one's monitor calibration was spot on, certain details would not be visible at all. There were a few adjustments made to later versions.

I think that we are stuck with large white areas for a while because this has somehow become "best practice" for touch devices. And, in the interest of keeping the interface consistent over multiple platforms, we are seeing this same migration on desktop applications. At some point, similar to the lady needing a new hair color, we'll move on to another "best practice" which might be a dramatic change to gray text on a black or dark gray background and this will be hailed as an improvement.

I wish that we had a simulator that could demonstrate to young folk what happens to normal vision over the years. This might help the 20 something programmers appreciate the variation and the boss to authorize the effort to install options that allow age appropriate adjustments.

By the way, on another thread there was praise for the controller from a blind person using the controller with the aid of a screen reader.
I'm 55 and use bifocals for reading. I have no problem reading the new app.

Oh, and I love the redesign.
I'm 55 and use bifocals for reading. I have no problem reading the new app.

Oh, and I love the redesign.

I am 62, and have no problem reading the new app, with or without reading glasses.

I wouldn't say that I "love" the new design, but I think that it is better than the one that it replaced.
Everyone is on a different schedule with respect to needing reading glasses and cataract removal, but the train only runs in one direction and if you stay on the train long enough, you'll get there. I know one fellow who needed bifocals in his early thirties.

I am amused, and dismayed if I need to interact with them, but some people refuse to use reading glasses when needed. They'll struggle and misinterpret things, yet somehow blame others. Young people of all ages face the world, adapt, and grow. Old people sit, pretend what used to be, and complain.
...some people refuse to use reading glasses when needed. They'll struggle and misinterpret things, yet somehow blame others.
I have contact lenses. I have one eye corrected for distance vision, and the other reading. It took a day or so to get used to, but it works better than you would imagine.
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I have contact lenses. I have one eye corrected for distance vision, and the other reading. It took a day or so to get used to, but it works better than you would imagine.

Hehe - if you ever accidentally swap the lenses around you'll be walking like a drunken sailor for a week...
Userlevel 1
My mum actually swaps her lenses over on purpose if she knows she's going to be reading a lot as it means she doesn't need her reading glasses.

I don't know what happens when she goes out for a drive but it might explain the increasing number of speeding tickets she's been getting... :rolleyes:
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[QUOTE=buzz;226235]but some people refuse to use reading glasses when needed. /QUOTE]

Count me in. 🙂

However, I only blame myself when it does not work out. Well, some things like list of ingredients may be printed in ridiculously small font sizes with a hopeless contrast can set me off a little.

Going back on topic, I did not notice anything particular with the new Controller app.
As someone that works for a company in the design and development of apps, I have to really reinforce to people that readability is a huge issue. My wife and I are about 40 and while I don't need reading glasses, she does. Although, even I am starting to struggle with reading the serial number (printed in white) in a silver iPod shuffle. What the hell Apple! Get off my lawn!

I feel better now.

Anyway, to be more relevant. As UX designers, we struggle to fit all of the needed information onto a screen that's needed and still be able to accommodate people with various vision issues (color blindness is another one that people don't often handle well).

There is definite art to app design.

Also, I know some of the Sonos people, and at least the ones I know aren't all 20 somethings. But perhaps the crew in California is more in that demographic.
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Yes, I'm also over 50 and couldn't agree more!!!
Four years since the original post and things really are still too tiny. I’m not always near my reading glasses when I want Sonos functionality, so I struggle with the app. Squinting only takes me so far. Accessibility options would be nice... and required these days.
Userlevel 7
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Are you on iOS? Isn't obvious to me. If so, try SonoPad / SonoPhone in the store, it doesn't use the tiny fonts that the official app does.