MLB’s iPhone App Update Disappointing From an Accessibility Perspective

Major League Baseball (MLB) released an update to their At Bat iPhone app today. All I can say is what a disappointment. While they did fix an issue with buttons to indicate radio stations when playing audio missing names for VoiceOver, as near as I can determine none of the other major accessibility bugs, such as those I detailed recently, have been addressed.


The ironic thing is that the issue of station buttons being nameless is something MLB broke two app updates ago. Taking the glass is half full perspective one I suppose can be appreciative that MLB fixed what they broke. But the fact that basic things like button names were broke in the first place has to call into question MLB’s claims that they are taking accessibility seriously. Fixing what was working because poor attention to accessibility broke it is not progress. Failing to address fundamental problems like player details on the At Bat roster pages reading is nothing more than comma after comma, well sorry but that’s not being committed to accessibility.


What I find interesting is that when I first reported the station name problem to MLB a few weeks ago, they called me several times ensuring me there wasn’t a problem. I ended up having a 30 minute conversation with a phone representative who told me at least five times they knew all about VoiceOver and that there were no problems. Only when I convinced this person to turn VoiceOver on and demonstrated that there was an actual problem, did this person stop telling me nothing was wrong. Ironically the individual who told me they knew all about VoiceOver then asked me how to turn it off because “we are not allowed to keep VoiceOver running on our phones.”


I work in the software business. I know it takes time to fix issues and all. MLB has gone out of their way to state loudly that they care about accessibility. I think it is then within reason to expect them to demonstrate this commitment with actions and not just words.

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