Use of Zotero from print disabled people

Dear all,

I was wondering if there is a way for print disabled people (eg blindness) to use zotero. Specifically, the issue is with clicking on the buttons (whether on zotero app or in word plugin). A nice way to make it accessible would be if there were any keyboard shortcuts for zotero functions (add item by identifier, the popup in word after clicking add/edit citation or add/edit bibliography, etc).
Has anyone any experience with this or would it be a thing for development team to consider?

Best regards,
Olga
  • For keyboard shortcuts in the word processor plugin, see https://www.zotero.org/support/word_processor_plugin_usage#keyboard_commands

    For the main toolbar functions that aren't accessible via menu options, I know it's possible to access the toolbar buttons using VoiceOver on a Mac. I'm not sure about JAWS or NVDA.

    We're currently working to hire an accessibility specialist to improve accessibility across all Zotero platforms, and making sure all parts of the main interface are accessible via the keyboard will obviously be a priority.
  • Thank you for the prompt response dstillman,

    Unfortunately in windows version both JAWS and NVDA fail to do so and the majority of our people in Greece use Windows and work with shortcuts.

    So for the time being, zotero is not fully accessible for the print disabled (blind people). It lacks two important shortcuts, the Add Item By Identifier, and the ability to select classic view on the search input field popping up in word plugin.

    It's very good news though, that an accessibility specialist will be involved and let's hope that upcoming versions will include more aids for the print disabled people.

    Best,
    Olga
  • and the ability to select classic view on the search input field popping up in word plugin.
    You can just set that as the default in the preferences, and since it's my understanding that the quick format dialog isn't accessible at all currently, blind users will want to do that.
    the Add Item By Identifier
    The Zutilo add-on allows users to configure a lot of otherwise mouse actions with keyboard shortcuts and is thus great for accessibiliy. Add by Identifier, e.g. can be assigned a keyboard shortcut. See https://github.com/wshanks/Zutilo
    For the main toolbar functions that aren't accessible via menu options, I know it's possible to access the toolbar buttons using VoiceOver on a Mac. I'm not sure about JAWS or NVDA.
    On Windows, these (i.e. everything to the left of the search bar) are currently also not reachable via tab, which I think is a regression (this is in the beta for me)? I feel like that used to be possible.
  • Add by Identifier, e.g. can be assigned a keyboard shortcut.
    Yes, the "Add Item(s) By Identifier" function is called "Lookup item by identifier" in the Zutilo add-on. Zutilo also provides shortcuts for most of the other functions, e.g., "Open new item menu", "Advanced search", "Show Locate menu".
    On Windows, these (i.e. everything to the left of the search bar) are currently also not reachable via tab, which I think is a regression (this is in the beta for me)? I feel like that used to be possible.
    I can reproduce this issue. I'm not sure if this was working in the past, though.
  • I feel like that used to be possible.
    No, that's never been possible, but we'll work on adding support for it.
  • Dear all,

    Thank you for your replies. I managed to have everything working as a charm.

    I have just noticed a slight detail regarding adding multiple sources using word plugin. Specifically, I have not found a way to click on the arrows needed to add sources. Does anyone have any experience or suggestion on this?

    Thank you in advance
    Olga
  • Dear all,

    If I may be more specific, I mean the Add/Edit Citation Button from Zotero word menu. After clicking Add/Edit Citation Button, when I select multiple sources, one needs to click on the arrows to insert the sources. Is there any way to avoid the arrows or select and insert the sources otherwise, for example with shortcuts, since this needs to be done by blind people?

    Moreover, the opposite, thus removing selected sources from the list of selected sources is also nice to be done.

    Thank you again
    Olga
  • Is there a reason you're using the classic citation dialog? The classic dialog isn't being actively developed, and we recommend the default dialog for most usage. Adding and removing multiple sources via the keyboard is trivial in the default dialog.
  • edited December 14, 2021
    I haven't checked recently, but if there are accessibility problems in the default dialog, we'd want to fix those.
  • edited December 14, 2021
    Yeah, this has come up before -- the default add citation dialog doesn't give screen reader feedback on search results (definitely not with JAWS or NVIVIA, not sure on Mac), so it's completely unusable for screen reader users (as you don't know what you're selecting to cite). There's a thread on this somewhere, I want to say about 8-12months ago

    Edit: And to answer the other question: I'm afraid there's not currently a way to use the multiple citation arrows from the keyboard, at least not that I could find.
  • Dear all,

    Indeed, my colleague who is actually print disabled (total blindness) tried to use the default dialog and confirmed that is totally unusable and unaccessible, as Adam Smith pointed out, since screen readers (NVDA, Jaws) do not read search results. So, we ended up using the classic citation dialog, where the only issue is those arrows when selecting multiple sources.

    Best,
    Olga
  • edited December 16, 2021
    OK, sorry about that — we're going to try to fix the problems with the default dialog.

    The classic dialog isn't being actively developed, but we can see if there's a quick fix for the arrows.
  • Thank you very much for all your effort.

    Can you please post any updates here?

    Thank you again
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