W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-wai-ig@w3.org > April to June 2001

Re: Frames & Font Sizes (was Re: 10.4 Re: Checkpoints 10.4 and 10.5)

From: Aaron Smith <aaron@gwmicro.com>
Date: Mon, 04 Jun 2001 15:24:11 -0500
Message-Id: <>
To: David Woolley <david@djwhome.demon.co.uk>, w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
At 11:05 PM 6/1/2001 +0100, David Woolley wrote:
>Some sites resort to scripting to force the frameset if you deep link,
>but that usually breaks the deep link by making it always display the
>home page, and also breaks the back button.

If we wanted to break deep links ourselves in order to keep them from being 
broken in the future when we changed content, then this seems valid.

>Conversely they can be used to trick people into thinking that external
>material is part of a site, also resulting in scripting to escape the
>frameset and break the back button.

You're talking about web designers who are either intently malicious, or 
lacking knowledge. We are a professional business who has no interest in 
attacking or tricking our users. So this doesn't seem a valid point to 
argue against using frames.

>They also translate poorly to media which is not pixel addressible (even
>Web TV, which is, has to approximate them with tables, even though that
>is pixel addressible).

Isn't this the responsibility of Web TV? How long have frames been in the 
HTML specs? Should one poorly designed UA keep everyone else from using a 
specific technology?

>The navigation techniques you describe with Lynx and screen readers are
>work arounds for the large numbers of otherwise inaccessible sites, rather
>than the logical way of handling frames.

Again, isn't this the responsibility of Lynx developers?

>You might want to note that the first line web sites (most of not all search
>engines, Microsoft, etc.) have eliminated frames.

Yet most of these "first line" web sites never had frames to begin with. 
Search engines have no use for frames. Microsoft does use frames when 
necessary (ie. MSDN documentation libraries).

>Also, from a more commercially oriented point of view, your sort of use
>of frames makes you look silly on search engines, e.g. this is what you
>get back from altavista if you search for gwmicro:

This I will agree with, and I am in the process of changing the content of 
our NOFRAMES tags. But at the same time, it seems like you're saying that 
since no one uses it correctly, it shouldn't be used at all.

>That's the problem.  On pages that use relative font sizes sensibly, the
>page is more usable without it turned on, but a page with small, absolute
>sizes, needs it turned one.  That means that anyone going to your site
>has to turn it on for your site then turn it off again.  I'd probably
>be more tempted just to go to the next search engine hit.

I agree again. We are currently working on a solution for this. But I still 
haven't heard a convincing argument as to why frames should be avoided. You 
have good points, but I have a hard time subscribing to the theory that, 
just because something is mis-used, or mis-understood, that it is 
automatically labeled as bad.

>PS JPEG is almost always a very bad format for screen shots, e.g. I suspect,
>given the original screenshot, I could produce a gif of hotkeys.jpg which
>is under 25K, compared with the 150+K of the JPEG image.  Large areas of
>solid colour, like the white and gray backgrounds, are contra-indications
>for JPEG.  The only part of the GIF that wouldn't reproduce the original
>screen faithfully would be the colour gradient on the Windows title bar.

We're a bit leery about using GIFs on a commercial website due to the 
Unisys flaky-ness. But I will look into decreasing the JPG sizes where 

Thanks for your opinions and discussion.


Aaron Smith
GW Micro
Phone: 219/489-3671
Fax: 219/489-2608
WWW: http://www.gwmicro.com
FTP: ftp://ftp.gwmicro.com
Technical Support & Web Development
Received on Monday, 4 June 2001 16:24:25 UTC

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