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Re: Frames

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org>
Date: Wed, 16 Feb 2000 01:09:01 -0500 (EST)
To: Judy Schnitzer <sitekre8@pacbell.net>
cc: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.20.0002160101550.30445-100000@tux.w3.org>
The proper use of noframes will solve problems 1 and 3 completely. It will
also reduce the impact of 4 and 5, by making it possible (using some
browsers, and any search engine) to get to an individual page, but not the
entire frameset. That's why it is included in the specification.

Problem 2 is not entirely true. Frames increase the initial load time a
little, but can then markedly decrease the amount of time taken as comon
content need not be reloaded with each page. the object element in HTML/XHTML
should address this, but implementation has been very slow, and it probably
isn't a real world option except for leading work.

Problem 8 is a trade-off. In the case where someone is using a side-bar for
navigation links anyway, there is no gain in "screen space". If frames were
better used and allowed easy dep linkng they would be a much better way of
providing this kind of site-wide information.

Charles McCN

On Tue, 15 Feb 2000, Judy Schnitzer wrote:

  At 04:06 PM 2/15/2000 -0600, MELINDA MORRIS-BLACK:
  >Could someone please explain to me how a web page with frames "sounds" ....
  >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! :)
  My observation from looking at a lot of   sties that discuss Web design is that almost none of them use frames. I while ago I compiled this list of reasons to avoid frames and the list below that of Web pages that discuss frames. I've just updated the list. Some of the articles are older, but I think that the same concerns still exist, especially concerning search engines,   people using older browsers, the reduction of the usable screen apace, as well as other problems mentioned here and discussed in the  Web pages.
  Problems with frames:
  1. Some search engines can't index them without extra programming work.
  As of February 2, 2000, on the Search Engine Features For Webmasters page at http://searchenginewatch.com/webmasters/features.html, which is part of the Search Engine Watch Web site (http://searchenginewatch.com/), of AltaVista, Google, Northern Light, Excite, FAST,                                       Inktomi, Go, and Lycos, ONLY AltaVista, Google, and Northern Light support frames.
  2. Frames increase load time. Users want speed.
  3. Older and text-based browsers can't handle them.
  4. Frames "disable" the URL. The browser doesn't show a unique URL for each frame of text (what would be called a page in a non-frames version). This often makes it difficult for visitors to return to specific a page, for their own use or to show someone else.
  5. This will prevent search engines from listing more than the home page.
  6. When printing, unless the visitor has IE 4.0 or N 4 or higher, s/he can print only one frame at a time. If someone wants to print the text on a page, they wouldn't have the company name and logo or navigation bar, unless they printed each frame separately.
  7. Many users don't like frames.
  8. Much less of the text shows at one time, making it harder and more frustrating for someone to see what you’re offering. You can emphasize more what you offer the customer by showing more text.
  The following pages discuss frames: 
  Frames Redux
  Very good discussion of the problems.
  To Frame or Not to Frame
  Good discussion. A 1-99 update about the security problem with framed sites. I don't know if that has been solved.
  Why Frames Suck (Most of the Time)
  Good discussion about disabling the URL.
  10 Top Mistakes in Web Design
      1. Frames.  A short summary in an older article, but still valid. Same Web site as immediately above.
  Webmaster T’s World of Design, Tutorial for Higher Search Engine Placement and Positions
  See the first paragraph in the third section, "How Document Structure and Layout Affect Search Engine Placement".
  Web Marketing Tips, Tricks, Techniques and Tools
  HTML tricks to help boost your income
  See "Offer a no-frames alternative".
  Do you want to have do extra coding every time we you add a page?
  Search Engines and Frames
  See under "Design Problems"
  The Art of Business Web Site Promotion
  Search Engines & Common Questions page
  “What about frames?
    There's not much to say really. The rule is: avoid them if you can. Here's a little more info.”
  Clicking “more info” leads to:
  Jeff’s FAQs
  See the answer to “What's wrong with frames?”
  Quotation about frames from Special Report #8, Search Engine Update: 9 Little-Known Search Engine Strategies to Create the Best Listing Results, by Dr. Audri G. Lanford, NETrageous, Inc., c. 1997.
  "8. . . . TIP: Avoid using frames. Some of the major search engines are unable to follow frame links, so they won't be able to index your entire site. (Currently only Excite, Lycos and infoSeek support frames.)"
  I hope this helps.
  Judy Schnitzer, Internet Marketing Consultant
  Customized eMarketing to match your needs
  Web Site Development & Tune-up, Promotion
  Research, Writing, & Training

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 Wednesday, 16 February 2000 01:09:04 UTC

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