The Ravenscroft 275 Piano App for IOS

Accessibility Advocacy

Hello there. My name is Andrew Tompkins. This is my very first time posting to Apple Vis. I am a blind musician who has been playing piano for 28 years. I own an iPhone, iPod, iPad, Mac and Apple Watch. One of my biggest hobbies is performing live places and using my iPad as a MIDI sound module.
The app I'd like to discuss in particular, is called Ravenscroft 275 Piano. This is a virtual software piano app that can run on all IOS and most desktop platforms. It works with external MIDI controllers or keyboards through MIDI USB or Bluetooth. The one big problem, is the lack of usability with Voiceover. The instant the app is launched, Voiceover stops talking. Gestures will not work, and Voiceover no longer speaks. Basically, the device behaves like the screen is locked, even though visually it is not. It is only when Voiceover is turned off that all controls and functions in this app will work.
I believe that this is an issue of software encoding, and this app did not seem to be designed with the Blind in mind. It has been developed in a way where Voiceover and the App do not get along.
Because I am a musician and a pianist, I would like to advocate for more accessible IOS apps such as this Ravenscroft 275 piano app. From what I've heard on this app, the piano tone is absolutely gorgeous. However, none of the features/functions, and tweaking controls are available to Voiceover users yet. I have to rely on a pair of eyes to help me and I honestly feel that I should not have to rely on them all the time.
While I have used other more accessible virtual piano apps with Voiceover, and while Ravenscroft is by no means the only music App, Ravenscroft has probably one of the best-sounding and realistic piano tones I've ever heard, and it leaves the smallest footprint. It does not hog up battery power and high power consumption. Again, I would like to advocate that this app be made accessible for the Blind, and especially to any other blind pianist out there, who really wants a ultra-realistic-sounding grand piano in an IOS product, and will not consume your battery to run the App.
FYI, the Ravenscroft app is made by VI Labs. If anyone out there is willing, please send this post to the App developers. Whoever designed this app certainly did not encode it to work in conjunction with Voiceover. I cannot access anything whatsoever in the App. Voiceover literally just says, "Landscape.) That's it. I cannot access buttons, controls, settings, nor do any gestures within the app to move within it. So please, anyone reading this post, join me in advocating for accessibility with software music apps such as Ravenscroft, and ask developers that the apps be encoded so that Voiceover can talk to the app, allow interaction without relying on sighted help, and also that all buttons be labeled as well.
Thanks for reading. Sincerely: Andrew Tompkins



Submitted by Unregistered User (not verified) on Saturday, October 2, 2021

It would be better to use any vst synth.
As for me salamander_piano.
You can use any vst host with MIDI controller.
But if you are a profi then you should know that it is preferable for you to use a natural piano, a live piano wooden piano.
But it was only my opinion.

Submitted by John Gurd on Saturday, October 2, 2021

I think your preaching to the converted here. Have you contacted the developers yourself? I'm sure other musicians would lend their voice but it's the developers are the ones you need to speak to.

Submitted by Matthew Whitaker on Sunday, October 3, 2021

Hi my name is Matthew Whitaker. I'm also a blind musician. I completely agree with you that this app be made accessible. I've been contacting the company for a few years now ever since I first downloaded it, and Ive gotten either no response, or something like we will get back to you or we will put it on the list of things to do. Of course, nothing happens.

Have you tried contacting the developers?

Submitted by Unregistered User (not verified) on Sunday, October 3, 2021

I think no sense to contact with developers. More effectively to find an accessible app.

Submitted by Matthew Whitaker on Sunday, October 3, 2021

In reply to by Unregistered User (not verified)

Ok. Understood. Feel free to suggest apps that are accessible that you have come across.

Submitted by Unregistered User (not verified) on Monday, October 4, 2021

In reply to by Matthew Whitaker

I am using windows therefore it is off top.
but vst host or reaper with vst salamander piano and certainly .. midi controller.

Submitted by Maestromania Tompkins on Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Well, thanks for all your comments. I too have contacted the developers directly and got the same exact responses. They say they'll put the accessibility on their list and/or get back with us. Does it ever happen? Not really. And many times, there would be an app that started off perfectly accessible, with all buttons labeled clearly and all gestures working correctly. But then they update the app and put a new visual spin on the interface, and guess what? The accessibility is taken away!
As for playing live on an actual piano, I'd love to do that. Nothing beats playing on a real acoustic piano. However, you can't exactly put an acoustic piano in a gig bag and sling it over the shoulders. I love to travel with my gear, and I've never appreciated what the iPad can do, nor how many music apps are out there that do work. And perhaps I tend to concentrate on one app for a long time.
Yes there are times where we just will have to find other apps that are accessible and work with Voiceover. But deep down, that makes me all the more frustrated because this Ravenscroft app has potential! From a musician's perspective, and specifically to a pianist's perspective, this is for professionals. But we have to give up use of this app because the developers don't think about the Blind and I personally feel that we are being left out of fantastic opportunities to play on great-sounding apps like Ravenscroft. For the time being, I'm using three other piano apps, which I will go more into detail on another post if anyone here is curious. Sincerely: Andrew Tompkins