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Re: Frames

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org>
Date: Tue, 15 Feb 2000 21:51:10 -0500 (EST)
To: thatch@us.ibm.com
cc: Melinda Morris-Black <melinda@ink.org>, Accessibility Listserve <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.20.0002152142320.30445-100000@tux.w3.org>
Well, since Jim hasn't really provided anything to banish frames, let me take
a bit each way...

In addition to having well-titled frames, which can provide some guidance
about what happens, having a logical amount of content in the noframes
section of the frameset (what is offered to people who use most browsers
other than IE and netscape, although many others provide optional access
either way) provides a mechanism for getting at the basic content anyway. In
addition, because it works through a single view, it provides a way of
linking to something within a framed site. It also provides a rational and
sensible way for agents (search engines, metadata harvesters, web surveys,
...)to negotiate a framed site.

It is impossible in current browsers to bookmark a frameset except at the
start, although it is possible to bookmark a particular frame. However, there
is no way of describing, as a URI, a fraameset where one or more frames have
been changed from the intial page. I think this is actually a major
philosophical problem with frames - it is perfectly possible to program a
browser to bookmark the state, but needs a bit of special magic that doesn't
transfer across the web.

But overall I agree with Jim - used properly (and sadly they almost never
are) frames can provide good accessibility.

for an interesting example of a reasonably wll-done framedd site, try
http://www.rachelmello.com (personally I'm not a fan of "splash pages", but
that's not the question at hand...)


Charles McCN

On Mon, 14 Feb 2000 thatch@us.ibm.com wrote:

  I would like to take that one.
  If frames are used properly, then with some assistive technologies, they
  solve the central problem of finding the main content from amidst all the
  navigation stuff.
  Take an example of 3 frames, main navigation, section navigation, and main
  Further assume that the content provider has given those frames TITLE's on
  frame page, and name attributes in the FRAME element of the FRAMESET -
  titles the same as I just described them.
  Then with Home Page Reader, the blind user hears a list of three frames,
  "main navigation,
  section navigation, main content." The Lynx user hears the same. They can
  visit the main
  content. If a link is followed there that would open in the main content
  frame, it is
  transparent to the user. The user can go back to the frame list and select,
  the section navigation, choose a link there, and if it opens in the main
  content window,
  then HPR will take you there for listening transparently.
  You can try it with the trial version of HPR (http://www.ibm.com/sns.)
  There is a
  brief description of how sighties use HPR in the Web guidelines on the same
  In summary, frames can be very good for accessibility.
  Jim Thatcher
  IBM Accessibility Center
  HPR Quick Help: http://www.austin.ibm.com/sns/quickreplace.html
  Melinda Morris-Black <melinda@ink.org> on 02/15/2000 04:06:43 PM
  To:   Accessibility Listserve <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
  Subject:  Frames
  Could someone please explain to me how a web page with frames "sounds"
  to someone using voice assistive technologies? A web developer asked me
  this question.
  Additionally, I'd appreciate a response that fully explains why frames
  are not a good accessibility solution. Links to online documentation
  would also suffice. I dislike frames for reasons separate from
  accessibility, but want more ammo to rid them from existence! :)
  Information Architect
  Information Networks of Kansas
  FON: (785) 296-5143
  PCS: (785) 550-7345
  FAX: (785) 296-5563

Charles McCathieNevile    mailto:charles@w3.org    phone: +61 (0) 409 134 136
W3C Web Accessibility Initiative                      http://www.w3.org/WAI
Location: I-cubed, 110 Victoria Street, Carlton VIC 3053
Postal: GPO Box 2476V, Melbourne 3001,  Australia 
Received on Tuesday, 15 February 2000 21:51:13 UTC

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