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RE: Frames (was: Re teleconference - complex enough...)

From: nir dagan <dagan@upf.es>
Date: Sat Jul 4 06:48:47 1998
Message-Id: <199807041041.MAA18608@sahara.upf.es>
To: chuckop@microsoft.com
Cc: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
Most of the uses of frames may be done 
with CSS2 and the authoring guidelines should 
point that out.

Example (accounts for 95% of current frames use):

Frames are used to create a navigation bar which is fixed on the 
user's viewport, and another frame is used for "content" which may be 
replaced by following links on the navigation bar.

This can be done with CSS2 by writing the navigaton bar in all 
pages (as one does in a site without frames) and position the 
navigation bar fixed with respect to the viewport using CSS2.

CSS2 has the following advantages:

The problem of addressing a position of 
frames with a URL disappears, the concept of the user's current 
location is well defined, the confusion of what is the user's 
history disappears.

Moreover, with HTML frames the navigation bar has an active link 
to the content page that the user is reading. This reduces user's 
orientation. With CSS2 we are like in normal pages where the 
author can disactivate the "self link".

So with CSS2, the good thing about frames stays: keeping the 
navigation bar fixed relative to the viewport. But all the 
usability and orientation problems of HTML frames go away.

The authoring guidelines may have an appendix (like they have 
for graphical bullets in lists) concerning CSS2 frames.

I have also seen frames site that the fixed frame is just a 
decorative margin (not even a message conveying banner), 
this accounts for 4% of frame sites), this can be done with 
fixed position background images. This CSS feature is 
already supported by some browsers.

It seems to me more useful to recommend CSS rather than 
"use the title attribute to describe the function of the frame:
<FRAME src="foo.html" title="no function, cool margin 
   that can be done with CSS"> "

Nir Dagan.


> <<
> In other words, frames are a presentational hint, for particular media. 
> Therefore, stylesheets should be used for making frames. 
> >>
> While I cannot stand most framed pages, I understand why the functionality
> is there.  For example, Hotmail.com allows you to read mail, and if the mail
> has a link to another page, choosing the link just modifies the current
> page.  The Hotmail.com navigation bar at the top stays the same, allowing
> you to return quickly to the original mail message if you surfed your way
> through to several pages.
> This is not something that can be accomplished through CSS positioning.
> Charles Oppermann
> Program Manager, Active Accessibility, Microsoft Corporation
> mailto:chuckop@microsoft.com http://microsoft.com/enable/
> "A computer on every desk and in every home, usable by everyone!"
Received on Saturday, 4 July 1998 06:48:47 UTC

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