This page gathers the IT Subcommittee's resources and reviews of the accessibility of Google Forms. This page will be updated as new information is available or further reviews are conducted.
Due to the complexity of use cases, we've split up the review by the Desktop App, the Browser version for PC and Mac, and the Web Plug-in/Zotero Connectors. In general, Zotero does not have a webpage dedicated to accessibility, but they have recently (2022) hired an accessibility specialist for their team. Any accessibility issues are reported through the Zotero Forums.
It is highly suggested that any university or library who relies on Zotero as a citation manager for their researchers should also purchase increased storage for their users. This money goes to supporting the open source software, and offers users more space to store their PDFs. The main accessibility reviewer for Zotero is at a university that supports Zotero through purchasing more space for its users.
Zotero Desktop App (5.x or 6.x)
The Zotero desktop app is not accessible. There are several unlabeled buttons, a general lack of headers, and it's impossible to reach the toolbar using just a keyboard. There are several operations that are only available to mouse users, and do not have a corresponding keyboard shortcut. However, the Zotero desktop app is required to use any web plug-ins/Zotero Connectors. Once the Zotero app is installed and set up, screen reader users and keyboard-only users can simply leave the software running in the background without interacting with it again. The deduplication folder, unfiled folder, and pulling metadata from a PDF are only available through the desktop app.
Browser version on Chrome or Firefox (PC)
Using Zotero in the browser on Chrome or Firefox on a PC is generally accessible, with some issues. In order to use the web plug-ins to import articles to your Zotero library, you need to have the Desktop App installed and running; however, once it’s installed and configured, you do not have to actually use the desktop app and can rely on the browser for most workflows. With Chrome and Firefox, it seems that if you get lost/have problem/get stuck, you can return to the collection folder you were originally working in and open it again to reset the page and fix most issues. Zotero is unusable once you get above 200x magnification.
Browser version on Chrome or Firefox (Mac)
Using Zotero in the browser on Chrome or Firefox on a Mac is generally accessible, with some issues. In order to use the web plug-ins to import articles to your Zotero library, you need to have the Desktop App installed and running; however, once it's installed and configured, you do not have to actually use the desktop app and can rely on the browser for most workflows. Issues with using the plug-ins/Zotero Connectors with Safari are reportedly fixed by Zotero 6.
- Accessibility of Bibliography Software, Accessing Higher Ground presentation slides, 2017
- Zotero Forums, where current issues are brought up and discussed
- Zutilo, a third-party plug-in that allows you to set up more keyboard shortcuts. NOTE: We tried to test Zutilo, but setting it up using a keyboard and screen reader was difficult and frustrating.
Known Accessibility Issues
We've organized the accessibility issues by workflows and then by browser vs. desktop app, to make the page easier to understand for users and librarians. These workflows were tested with screen readers (NVDA and VoiceOver) and keyboard.
Workflow #1: Use the web plug-ins/Zotero Connectors to import items into your Zotero library
Workflow #2: Move items from a folder or My Library into collections
Workflow #4: Editing item information/Metadata
Workflow #5: Creating Bibliography
Workflow #6: Creating a group library
Workflow #7: Adding notes
Browser Version, PC or Mac
You can add notes in the browser version. Tab down to the Info section of the article, then arrow over to Notes. Arrow down to get to Add Notes. It’ll jump you immediately into the Rich Text editing area for adding the note, but you have to switch modes to start typing in Chrome (this doesn’t seem to happen with Firefox). Once done, tab out of it, and it’ll automatically save.
It’s a little more difficult to add a note with the desktop app, as it opens a new sidebar menu without a close button (at least it’s not available to the screen reader). You have to switch modes to type, and then switch again to get out of the note and back to the item information.
Workflow #8: Manually adding a new item to your library
Browser Version, PC or Mac
Tab to the toolbar; the first option is "New Item Button," and then you select the type of item you are adding. It'll add a blank item that you can then edit. You are able to upload a file as an attachment. If you want to add it to a specific collection folder, you must select that folder first before adding the new item. Make sure you create a new item entry before uploading a file in the browser version, otherwise you might be locked out from editing or adding any information/metadata to the entry (there is no way in the browser to even drag-and-drop the file into an Item; this can only be done in the desktop app).
With the desktop app, you can use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl-Shift-N to add a new item manually.
Workflow #9: Deduplicating
There is no Duplicates folder in the browser version of Zotero. You need to manually identify the items and delete them. Bear in mind that there is no audio alert when items are deleted.
Workflow #10: Unfiled items
There is no "unfiled items" folder on the Web browser version of Zotero. My Library brings up all materials that are in your collections, whether they have been filed into a folder or not.