Accessible Metal: How a Metal Website Supports an Accessibility Standard

Apart from being an advocate of accessibility, I’m also a long-time metal enthusiast. Although I listen to all types of metal, the ones I truly enjoy are doom, gothic, and death metal.

With this in mind, it’s really no surprise that I spend a good amount of time scouring the Net for metal websites. And oh, what joy was it for me when I saw a metal website which, in addition to being an excellent resource, demonstrates a good level of accessibility.

Before telling you about the site, I’d like to explain how the site supports one of the principles of web accessibility.

Hard-Hitting Headings

The following metal website properly uses heading tags. Pretty basic, one may say, but this provides a great deal of accessibility to screen reader users like me. A screen reader is an application which reads the currently highlighted text on the screen. This application is used mainly by blind persons.

The screen reader that I use provides a specific shortcut key to move from one heading to another. When a website uses the correct heading tags, I can use the said shortcut key to easily navigate through the sections of information in the site’s pages.

DarkLyrics.com – An Awesome Archive of Metal Lyrics

Dark Lyrics, (www.darklyrics.com), according to its creators, is the largest metal lyrics archive on the Web. I can gladly say that I totally agree with them. Whenever I want to read the lyrics of a particular metal song or album, I would visit this site and it would be there in all its metal majesty. They even have the lyrics of obscure Filipino metal albums!

Here is how DarkLyrics.com demonstrates the proper use of headings. Once you have browsed through the A-Z list and have entered a specific band page, you’ll find a chronological list of the band’s albums.

The title of each album is marked up with a heading tag. Under each title, you can find the list of songs included in the album. Since the album titles were marked up with heading tags, I can use the shortcut key provided by the screen reader to move from one album title to another. This means that I don’t need to pass by the song titles just to reach the next album title—a huge help to blind persons like me.

An Extreme Example

The example I chose is the Dark Lyrics page for Type O Negative’s lyrics. Type O Negative were a gothic metal band from America, and is and will always be one of my favorite bands.

Browsing through the Type O Negative lyrics page, we see that the album titles have been marked up with the heading level 2 tag. As what I’ve said earlier, this helps me quickly navigate from one album title to another.

More Accessible Metal Madness

The accessibility (as well as the metal madness) continues to the actual lyrics page. Once you have entered on a song title from a specific album, you’ll find a page containing its lyrics as well as the lyrics to the other songs in the album.

Let’s return to the Type O Negative lyrics page. When you enter on one of the songs under the heading that reads “album: Bloody Kisses (1993)”, you’ll see a page containing the lyrics to Type O Negative’s Bloody Kisses album. On this page, the song titles also have been marked up with the correct heading tags (heading level 3 in this example). This lets screen reader users quickly move to a song title, read its lyrics, and move to the next song lyrics whenever they want.

My Message to DarkLyrics.com’s Developers

I don’t know if you considered accessibility in designing the Dark Lyrics website. I nonetheless greatly appreciate the way you designed the site’s pages. If I may make a kind request, I’d like to ask that the features mentioned above be kept and maintained as they truly enhance the accessibility of the online contents you are generously sharing with metal enthusiasts like me.

Endless thanks to Dark Lyrics! \m/

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3 Responses to “Accessible Metal: How a Metal Website Supports an Accessibility Standard”

  1. David Hathaway Says:

    Hi, Julius. Very nice post. People often underestimate the power and facility of the heading tag. It’s truly a joy when one encounters a page with properly marked up headings.

    • Julius Charles Says:

      Hi David.

      Thanks for your comment.

      I totally agree. What’s even better is that in a genre where websites are generally not accessible, we’ve found one (Darklyrics.com) that offers a reasonable amount of accessibility.

      Here’s hoping that other metal websites would consider following Darklyrics.com’s example.

      Cheers.

      Julius

  2. heavy lyrics Says:

    Great article! It is very helpful, I thank you

    Best Regards

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