I’ve got a hell of a lot on this topic, but I’ll try to keep it a two cents kind of deal.
I’ve been told that most screen reader users on Mac don’t even bother with the IDE because of inaccessibility. As for the Windows IDE, there are many things which could be improved for screen readers, but the biggest bugs, at least for me, are in the story and index tabs.
In the story tab, the IDE does not report back to a screen reader. When typing test commands into my game, I have to manually scroll up to the result and read it. The desired behaviour would be to have it automatically read when the user presses return.
Basically whenever I want to test my game I have to release it and play it in an interpreter, which isn’t accessible by default either (obviously not the fault or concern of the Inform devs!).
In the index tab, there is practically no layout. I mean there is, but it’s entirely visual. Screen readers pay attention to the elements that comprise anything on screen, and they provide a way for users to navigate between them. For example, on the page for this post, I can jump between posts with the ‘a’ key, because each is contained in an “article” element. I can flick through links with ‘k’, if the search box were not collapsed I would be able to jump to it with ‘e’ for “edit”, headings are ‘h’, etc.
This is not because of specialty code, this page is coded properly in HTML 5, and that’s what my screen reader is looking at. Much of the Inform 7 IDE is a web app, and it could easily do this too. Things like properly marked up tables, page sections under headings, would make a world of difference when trying to use the index.
There are a great deal of other small annoyances that I’ve just sort of had to get used to, but I’ve seen less experienced screen reader users be discouraged by the interface. And obviously such users aren’t going to feel like compiling the games from the command line themselves is a simpler solution.