Accessibility: Label input elements to assist with screen readers

This was an accessibility feature request submitted by email. Adding to the forum for multi-user feedback.

Use case or problem

I have encountered significant accessibility issues as a blind user, particularly with the Android version of the app.

I use TalkBack for navigation, and I’ve noticed that text entered in input fields often disappears immediately and is only represented as unlabeled elements. This makes it challenging, if not impossible, to interact with the app effectively. For an app to be accessible to blind users, it’s crucial that all elements, especially input fields, are properly labeled and navigable using screen reading software.

I am reaching out to express my keen interest in using Obsidian and to inquire if there are any plans to improve accessibility for blind users. Enhancing the app’s compatibility with screen readers like TalkBack would not only benefit users like myself but also align with inclusive design principles.

I truly believe in the value of Obsidian and would be delighted to use it if these accessibility barriers could be addressed. Making the app more accessible would undoubtedly expand its user base and demonstrate a commitment to inclusivity.

Thank you for considering this feedback. I am looking forward to any updates or improvements that could make Obsidian a more inclusive tool for everyone.

Proposed solution

Ensure all elements have proper tagging so screen readers can consistently use the application whether on desktop or on mobile.


I want to post a response in support of @Sigrunixia’s request.

I know that some of you reading might dismiss this as benefiting a fraction of all Obsidian users. I get it; I was once in your position! It can be hard to understand how accessibility improvements might be a broad need when people typically sidestep discussing disabilities.

However, accessibility improvements tend to help people with a number of needs. You’ve surely benefited from how sidewalks are designed to slope down at road intersections; thanks to disability advocates, those curb cuts are now the norm and make moving through public spaces easier for lots of people, not just those who use wheelchairs or other mobility devices

Currently, I’m not accustomed to using screen readers, but that could change at some point. It’s completely possible my visual vertigo could flare up enough that I’m forced to do so. But I—or any of us—could also suddenly need visual accessibility tools for any number of reasons.

In the end, I might not need to convince anyone. But just in case, I wanted to speak up about making sure this happens.


Agree with these suggestions-
Also linking another thread where this was previously brought up (unfortunately without any success)

I am not a blind user, and wanted to chime in to say I think this feature would benefit a greater percentage of users that solely blind users.

I find it very difficult to learn how to use an app when I am faced with a bunch of icons that I have no clue what they do. Yes, once a user is familiar with the icons- removing the labels makes the interface cleaner. A perfect example of why user-choice is very important.

In the early days of Obsidian, there would be far less interface icons to learn- Obsidian had less features and there were less Community Plugins. In this scenario label free icons make somewhat more sense. (Still prefer labels, but alas.) Today, Obsidian has so many fantastic features that using icons alone is not sufficient- labels should be added such that the user does not need to hover over every single icon just to learn what it does.

Looking forward to this UI improvement.


@charles1, thanks for chiming in with that! I wanted to make a connection to learning and working memory in my comment, but I couldn’t do so at that moment.

My reason for including such an example? Because often, visual accessibility improvements also benefit general usability and cognitive accessibility. When UI information is more “findable,” users face less friction; in this case, friction would be the extra mental energy needed to use the app.

Besides the fact that increased stress decreases the remaining available mental energy—and who isn’t stressed these days?!—people who are neurodivergent like me can also benefit from improved cognitive accessibility more specifically.

That’s because working memory is the brain’s equivalent to computer RAM.

Neurodivergent brains often have additional background processes running that are meant to help us operate in a mismatched computing environment, though those added software packages hog our brain RAM. (And frequently, they’re not very effective.)

This is also true for disabled users more broadly, and one part of the larger phenomenon known as the “disabled tax” or “crip tax.”

Yet everyone’s available mental space changes with stress, whether situation-specific or the result of something ongoing. And we have one continued source of stress: the pervasive effects of a global pandemic on public health and available resources.

In other words, we’re all running low on remaining brain RAM, and some users feel that hardware limitation more than others.

So please, for anyone reading this: address accessibility feedback from individual users like @Sigrunixia. It’s likely that a number of people have trouble with the same thing, even if they experience it differently. All of those users will benefit when you make the requested changes to your product.