Accessibility of Zotero Reader for MacOS

Zotero Version: 6.0.37
macOS Version: Sonoma 14.5

When trying to read a PDF in Zotero with VoiceOver on macOS, the screen reader does not parse the PDF properly.

Steps to reproduce:
1. Open Zotero
2. Select a PDF from your library and open it
3. Enable VoiceOver and try to navigate through the PDF.
In my case, I could hear the PDF title. When I wanted to read the actual text, I got the VoiceOver message "text, textfield, empty" instead of the PDFs content.

I found out that you can change the program that is used for opening PDFs from Zotero to the system standard, which is typically Preview on mac. This is accessible and solved the problem for me.

Requested Fix:
I kindly ask Zotero developers to make sure that their own reader is accessible as well. It is not very inclusive if every visually impaired person has to search the preferences and change some settings before being able to read PDFs with Zotero. Also, this only works if the corresponding third party replacement for the Zotero reader is accessible.
An improvement on this would be very appreciated. Thank you
  • I support Pstahlhofen's suggestion. As a librarian I recommend Zotero all the time, but library users who use screen readers stick with EndNote because of (relatively) better accessibility. I will never be able to recommend that my university stop the site license of EndNote until Zotero is accessible.

    Plus - building in accessibility, or retrofitting for accessibility, is not going to take any less work in the future, so delay is not saving any work in the long run.

    I can't offer to help with development because I don't have the right skills. But if you needed help writing a grant proposal for funds to hire a developer to focus on accessibility, I could help with that.
  • All accessibility testing should be done with Zotero 7, which has significant accessibility improvements and will be released together with a VPAT before the Fall semester starts (as per dstillman). I can get PDF text read to me using NVDA, for example.
  • Hello,
    @kate.nyhan Thanks for the support!
    @adamsmith That's good to know. I will test Zotero 7 with VoiceOver then as soon as it's released and report accessibility issues if applicable. Nice to hear that things are getting better
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