Zotero for iPad - First impressions

edited March 13, 2021
So, I've been trying the new Zotero for iOS app. As soon as I got the email, I went straight to it.

The very first impression from a little bit of usage is that it is awesome! I was not expecting it to be so polished and nice already. Thank you very much for all your hard work.

I do have a few suggestions and things I think could be improved, though, regarding the PDF reader.

- The Appearance option is not sticking for me. My iPad system setting is set to change between light and dark mode based on time of day. It's night here right now, so when I tried Zotero, it was in dark mode. While reading a PDF, I changed the Appearance setting from Automatic to Light mode. As soon as I leave the PDF and return to the library, Zotero is in dark mode and if I open the PDF again, it's back to the Automatic setting. I don't know if this is expected behavior, but if it is, then I can't find anywhere else in the app to set it to Light mode independently of the iPad system setting.

- There are too many steps and clicks to edit or delete an annotation. I feel like the popup to add a comment/tags and the next popup to edit/delete the annotation could be consolidated on a single-screen-popup, resulting in less clicks to perform an action.

- On the same vein, I feel the way to reach that popup is a bit unintuitive and inconsistent between tools. I intuitively keep trying to long press on annotations (notes and image-annotations) I want to add comments/tags to or edit/delete, and it doesn't do anything. Then I remember it's just a single-click, so I single-click the annotation, and nothing happens. Then I remember it just shows the first time I select the annotation, so I have to click anywhere else in the document, to deselect the annotation, click on the annotation again and access the popup. And if I want to edit or delete it, I have to do yet another click, as described in the previous point, to access the second popup, and another click to select the edit I want to do (and even another, to confirm a deletion). But for highlights, every time I single-click them it correctly and alternatively selects and deselects it, opening the popup each time. I think this should be the expected behavior for all annotation. Another option would be to adopt the long-press method for all of them

- There's another behavior inconsistency between the tools. When I select the pen icon to highlight, it remains selected, allowing me to keep highlighting efficiently, and selecting another color doesn't deselect the pen icon, which is also great - I think this is the correct behavior since it allows me to highlight very quickly and with fewer clicks, being minimally disruptive to the reading. Then, when I select the note icon, it immediately deselects the tool after I insert the post-it. I also feel this is the correct behavior for this tool, since after inserting a note, I want to write in it, not immediately insert another post-it. However, when I select the image-annotation tool, it remains selected after I make a selection, so when I intuitively go to click it with my apple pencil to add a comment or edit it, I end up with multiple colored rectangles around, until I remember to either deselect the tool, or remember I have to click with my finger in order to not create any more rectangles (and then I have to go through the previously described process to delete every rectangle created). I think this should not be the expected behavior. When I make and image-selection, most of the time I don't want to make another one right away, and I may need to edit it, or adjust the size or position. So I think it should work like the note tool.

- These next three things are just feature requests: allow inking with the apple pencil (I prefer to do little handwritten annotations and scribbles on the margins, as well as arrows and things like that, and it would be useful as well for scanned PDFs that are not OCR'ed). Also, allow the customization of the highlight colors (or add more colors). For my color-coding system, I'm only missing the orange color and I'd prefer to have pink instead of red (this is also true for the new Zotero PDF reader on desktop), but I'm sure other people would like different colors. And lastly, another thing I like to do in my color-coding is underline (not highlight) some passages in red, so it would be nice to have that option as well (this is not nearly as important as the other two features though)

EDIT: I remembered something else: allow customization of highlighter width. In some PDFs, the width is too big, resulting in the overlap of the highlight edges

Overall, I'm extremely impressed and overly excited to keep using the app. It's going to make my life so much easier! I'm sure as I keep using it day-to-day, I'll find other little quirks and suggestions to make, these were just the first few moments of trying the PDF editor. I'll be sure to post anything else I find.

Most of all, thank you very much for your work on making this app!
Sign In or Register to comment.