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Re: Frames sites.

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charlesn@sunrise.srl.rmit.edu.au>
Date: Sat, 7 Mar 1998 00:34:57 +1100 (EST)
To: Nir Dagan <nir.dagan@econ.upf.es>
cc: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.SUN.3.91.980307002002.17867F-100000@sunrise.srl.rmit.edu.au>
I would agree with Nir that frames are a viual metaphor by nature. In 
this they aare like tables. Also like tables, they have un underlying 
logical structure which could be used to present information clearly, and 
also like tables they are often misused by people who can not or do not 
escape the visual paradigm.

There are techniques to make frames useful, and to make the same site 
useful for viewers who do not use frames. As I understood it, turingng 
off frames also turned off the opening of new windows - if it does not 
then there is a problemin the browser, or in the specs, since that as I 
see it (at first glance).

Some of the solution is to convince people not to use a visual design 
paradigm, but a logical one. This is the approach taken by Jakob Nielsen 
(http://www.useit.com) and others.

An alternative approach is taken by most of the HTML3.2 generation of 
authoring software, wich uses tables, and cascading layers of tables, to 
provide pixel-level control of the layout of sites, at the expense of 
every good design principle I have ever heard of.

A lot of the solution depends on thoughtful design. Web authoring well is 
not the same as word-processing - on a word processor there is a good and 
a bad way to do many things, but the end result is usually the same. On 
the web, the end result only seems the same to people who do not consider 
the variety of forms that the presentation may take. But experience shows 
that this includes a huge number of people out there currently charging 
lots of money to make pages for individuals, small businesses and very 
large companies which are a complete mess on a system other than that on 
which they were designed. It seems to me that part of the solutioon must 
llie in convincing people that a 'point and click wizard' approach is 
simply not good enough. I would be very happy to be proved wrong here, 
but 'writing' (or publishing multimedia) seems to me qualitatively 
different to opening a can of baked beans or a zipped up directory (for 
which wizards work very well)

Some other parts of the solutions have been covered by Nir and Al already

Charles McCathieNevile
Sunrise Research Laboratory
RMIT University
(I find it reassuring that the department of Visual Communication pays me 
to say this, although my opion is not necessarily their opinion.)
Received on Friday, 6 March 1998 08:52:27 UTC

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