Screen Reader accessibility - Keyboard shortcuts

As a new graduate student in HCC program at University of Maryland Baltimore County who is legally blind, I am using NVDA screen reader as my assistive technology and Firefox as my web browser. It is about three months that I have found Zotero Standalone combined with Firefox plugin the most screen reader accessible reference management tool for Windows. Although it is one of the best and most accessible tools in this regard, it lacks some keyboard accessibility features. If these keyboard access shortcuts are added to this amazing tool, we, screen reader users, will benefit a lot. I list some of these below. I would be more than happy if this discussion can lead to a comprehensive list of shortcut keys that can be added to the software.
1. Currently, moving items between collections can be done through drag and drop with mouse. Shortcut keys and context menu commands for this functionality are so useful: "Move Item/Collection", "Paste Item/Collection".
2. The "Add New Item" in the menu bar doesn't include "Add Stored File copy" while it is in the list of menu items when the "Add New Item" is pressed in the toolbar. The toolbar is not keyboard accessible and I have to do mouse simulation with my screen reader to reach it.
3. Deleting an item from a collection or entire library is only possible by right-clicking and selecting the corresponding menu item in the context menu. shortcut keys can help a lot in this regard to increase the speed.
4. Zotero Standalone can have a context menu entry in Windows Explorer so that we can right-click on an item such as a pdf file and choose to add the item to Zotero. Currently this addition is possible through drag and drop which is very time consuming using a screen reader.
5. The zotero button in Firefox, located next to the address bar, needs combination of several key strokes to reach via a screen reader. it would be very helpful if a Firefox shortcut can be assigned to it to open the menu under that button using the shortcut key or simulating the pressing of that button to add the paper directly to zotero Standalone.

Sincerely yours
Ali abdolrahmani
  • All good points. I'm not involved in that part of development, but I know Dan has mentioned that keyboard accessibility is important, so I'd hope these will happen, though unfortunately especially 1.) will take time.

    Some of these may already have solutions, though.

    2.) If you install the Zutilo add-on: You can configure a keyboard shortcut for "Open new item Menu" which makes this accessible via keyboard. Zutilo itself isn't built for accessibility, so setting it up the first time may be cumbersome, but once that's done that should work (and more generally be useful for keyboard shortcuts).

    3.) Ctrl+Delete actually does delete an item from the library, as does simple delete when you're looking at the "My Library" view

    4.) I don't think that will happen--it's hard to do for a cross-platform app--but addressing 2.) would give you a keyboard way of doing that, correct? (Store copy of file is the same as drag&drop).

    5.) I'm not quite sure which button you're referring to, but both can be accessed via keyboard: The button that opens Zotero in Firefox that is next to the address bar--that is accessible via Ctrl+Shift+Z.
    Or the button that's actually in the address bar that adds items to Zotero from supported webpages, which is accessible via ctrl+shift+S

    Hope that helps!
  • Hello, I have just come across Zotero yesterday, looking for an accessible reference manager,, as I am blind and use a screen reader.

    I have to say I am pretty happy with it so far! Good job to the people developing this.

    I am however running into one of the same problems as the original poster of this thread. Namely the first one. I haven't been able to figure out how to put items in collections using the keyboard. This is a major roadblock for me as I am sure you are aware how important it is to be able to organize references into different groups.

    Does some way exist to do this using only the keyboard?

    If not, please take this into account as it is very important for users such as myself that can only operate a computer using the keyboard.

    A solution like OP suggested, having an "move to collection..." in the context menu for an item would work fine. Alternatively, I can also imagine another solution, where when an item is selected, the user can ctrl + c and then once they have selected another collection, pressing ctrl + v would add the item there.
  • I think some of the other items have improved (e.g. because Standalone has better top menus now, I think the browser button can be configured with a shortcut), but I'm afraid nothing new on collections. Developers are very much aware that this is broken for accessibility and my understanding is that fixing accessibility/making collections keyboard accessible is a firm part of the plans for an improved interface, hopefully not too far out, but that's all I have on this.
  • Hi, I just wanted to know if there is a github issue created for the feature for moving items to collections through the context menu instead of drag and drop. I would like to follow the issue so I can know when it is fixed and follow developments.

    This is a super important feature for me as a screen reader user and is causing me a lot of headaches.

    It also seems that this is a simple feature. basically just adding an extra menu item to the right click menu for items in zotero library, so the fact that there hasn't been any progress in that for 6 years now is truly frustrating :(
  • @samkacer: We should have something on this soon. We'll post here when something is available to test.
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