Checklist and recommendations

Screen reader users do not navigate in the same way that sighted users do. Typically, they navigate by keyboard using a combination of mainstream key commands and those specific to their screen reader.

Preparing for research

  • Watch the first 25 minutes of this introduction to screen readers by Deque.

  • Become familiar with screen reader shortcuts during your pilot session with an accessibility specialist

Do during facilitation

  • Wear headphones to prevent the user’s screen reader from echoing back to them (this can be very distracting).

  • Ask how the participant accomplishes tasks. Screen reader users can navigate from heading to heading, get a list of links organized alphabetically, use the tab key to navigate to links and form controls, and search within the page for keywords, among other methods. It may not be immediately obvious or visible, so it’s ok to ask for clarification.

  • Send links through email or text instead of Zoom’s built in chat feature. They will be faster to access than the Zoom chat which may be hard to find if it's their first time using it.

Don't during facilitation

  • Don’t ask the participant to slow down the speed of their screen reader (reading rate). It won’t be natural to the participant and can be frustrating to advanced screen reader users who may be used to listening and navigating at a fast pace. If you can’t keep up with the screen reader, ask them to explain what their screen reader announced post-task instead.

  • Don’t rely on visual cues such as “click here” or “look for the blue button.”

  • Don’t interrupt or talk over the participant while they complete tasks. Screen reader users need to be able to hear their screen reader in order to complete tasks. Speaking over their screen reader may result in delaying or resetting the task.


Desktop screen readers

Setting up a screen share

  • We want to confirm your internet speed before we set up the screen share. Have you received any alerts from Zoom on having a low internet bandwidth or connection speed?

    • [If so, be prepared to facilitate without screen share]

  • Tab to the “Screen share” button and activate it with your space key.

  • Tab or navigate past the “basic, advanced, and files” tab menu items and find “Share entire screen.” It should be the first item in the list of windows or applications to share. Use your space key to select it.

    • [If the user gets lost in the list or mentions arrow keys aren’t working]

    • If your arrow keys aren’t working as expected, it’s because this list has two rows. You’ll need to use your up and left arrow keys to return to the beginning of the list where you should have access to share the entire screen.

  • Tab to “Share sound” and use your space key to select it. This will let us hear your screen reader.

  • Tab to “Share” and use your space key to select it to start the screen share.

Common problems during screen share set up

  • [If you don’t hear the screen reader] We can’t hear your screen reader. Are you using headphones, hearing aids, or other technology? If so, would you be able to comfortably use your computer without that device so we can hear your screen reader? If not, that’s perfectly OK.

    • [If no, switch to think out loud facilitation]

  • [If you can’t see the window you need, like a google chrome window] You’ve started your share, but we can’t see the window you’re on right now.

    • [Windows might be minimized]: Use Windows Key + Shift + M to maximize all your windows or use Command + Tab to select the window you want to maximize and then use Windows Key + Up Arrow to maximize it.


iOS VoiceOver

VoiceOver screen share setup demo (YouTube)

Joining Zoom instructions (send by email or provide guidance over call)

  • We’ll send you a link to open on your phone through your preferred communication method of [text/email] before the scheduled interview time.

  • Double tap on that link to join the meeting through Zoom.

  • If you’ve set up Zoom before, you’ll land on the “Video Preview” page. If you are uncomfortable with having your video on, swipe to “Join without Video” and double tap on it. If you are OK with having your video on, swipe to “Join with Video” and double tap on it.

  • If you have not set up Zoom before, you’ll be prompted for access to your microphone and video. For microphone access, swipe to “Allow” and double tap it. We do not need your video, so feel free to either swipe to “Allow” if you’re comfortable with being on camera or “Don’t Allow” if you are not comfortable. Double tap to confirm your choice.

  • Please wait until we (the meeting host) lets you into the room. This should not take more than a minute if you’ve joined at the scheduled time.

  • Upon joining the room, Zoom will provide the prompt “To hear others, please join audio.” Please swipe to and double tap "Wifi or Cellular Data." [This button will be at the center of their screen.]

Setting up the screen share

  • Have you shared your screen before on Zoom?

    • [If no] Please open your iPhone settings. Once you’re there, go to your control center. Then, find the “Insert screen recording” button and double tap to activate it. When you’re done, please return back to the zoom app.

  • Swipe to or find the "Share content" button and double tap it. A menu will appear. Swipe to the first option "Screen” and double tap it. Swipe to the "Start Broadcast" button and double tap it. You'll hear a counter "3, 2, 1" and the screen share will begin.

Share device audio instructions

If you can hear the screen reader, share device audio is already on

If you can’t hear the screen reader

  • [If the visual screen reader focus is on “Everything on your screen…” message] Please swipe right to “Screen Broadcast” and double tap on it (this will close the modal). Then, swipe backwards until you’re able to reach “Share Device Audio” and double tap on it.

  • [If the visual screen reader focus goes to “You are sharing screen” behind the modal] Please swipe up from the bottom of your screen (this will remove the overlay).

    • [If focus is on “you are sharing screen”] Please swipe right to “Share Device Audio” and double tap on it.

    • [If focus is anywhere else] Please swipe backwards to “Share Device Audio” and double tap on it.

Stopping screen share and link sharing

  • If you need to stop sharing during this session you can double tap “Stop Share.” It’s located where the “Screen Share” button originally was at the bottom center of your screen.

  • We'll send links to your preferred [email or text] for the websites we'll be asking you to visit.

Common problems during screen share set up

  • [If the screen is black]: We see a black screen right now. If you have screen curtain or other screen hiding tech running, please toggle it off if possible.

  • [If you don’t hear the screen reader]: We can’t hear your screen reader. Are you using headphones, hearing aids, or other technology? If so, would you be able to comfortably use your phone/desktop without that device so we can hear your screen reader? If not, that’s perfectly OK.

    • [If no, switch to think out loud facilitation]


Talkback Android

TalkBack screen share setup demo (YouTube)

Joining zoom instructions (send by email or provide guidance over call)

  • We’ll send you a link to open on your phone through your preferred communication method of [text/email] before the scheduled interview time.

  • Double tap on that link to join the meeting through Zoom.

  • You may be prompted to choose how you want to open the Zoom link. Double tap on “Just once” or “Allow” depending on your preference under “Open with Zoom.”

  • Please wait until we (the meeting host) lets you into the room. This should not take more than a minute if you’ve joined at the scheduled time.

  • Upon joining, you’ll be prompted to join with wifi or cellular data. Double tap to activate.

Setting up the screen share

  • Swipe to find the “share button” and double tap it. A menu will appear with a list of items. Swipe to “screen” and double tap it.

  • You’ll be asked if you want to start recording or casting with Zoom. Swipe to “start now” and double tap it.

  • If you haven’t given Zoom permission to record yet on your device, you’ll be prompted to give access to “display over other apps.” Swipe to find “Zoom” in the list and double tap it. Continue swiping to find “Allow display over other apps” and confirm it is “off.” Double tap it to turn it on.

  • Return to your home screen and the screen share should begin.

Stopping screen share and link sharing

  • If you need to stop sharing during the session, you can find the “stop share” button at any time at the bottom left corner of your screen (press your finger down and drag it to the bottom left corner, it will be by “share audio” and “announcements”). You can also open the zoom app and find the “stop share” button where the “share” button was originally located.

  • We'll send links to your preferred [email or text] for the websites we'll be asking you to visit.

Common problems during screen share set up

  • [If the screen is black]: We see a black screen right now. If you have screen curtain or other screen hiding tech running, please toggle it off if possible.

  • [If you don’t hear the screen reader]: We can’t hear your screen reader. Are you using headphones, hearing aids, or other technology? If so, would you be able to comfortably use your phone/desktop without that device so we can hear your screen reader? If not, that’s perfectly OK.

    • [If no, switch to think out loud facilitation]