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Re: Frames and accessibility: opinions please

From: Patrick Burke <burke@ucla.edu>
Date: Wed, 24 Apr 2002 06:12:18 -0700
To: Jim Byrne <j.byrne@gcal.ac.uk>
Cc: W3c_Access <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-Id: <E170Maw-0002F1-00@swan.prod.itd.earthlink.net>
Hi Jim,

There was a thread recently on the EASI list on this topic, with some familiar
names contributing, so maybe they will repost their comments.

I think the biggest problem with frames-based sites is more related to
usability than technical accessibility. Frames force people to learn a new Web
navigation metaphor. If they have learned to backtrack by using the Back
(or keystroke), & suddenly that doesn't work (or takes them out of the site),
then they are likely to feel confused & disoriented, even if all the
links they need are right there in the nav frame. And there is the problem of
losing the ability to bookmark a specific page.

Also in my experience there is a fair amount of paranoia about frames among
users, just because it is one more element of new terminology in the already
strange & unfamiliar world of Web navigation.

Technically, though, for most screen readers that I am aware of, navigating
frames pages isn't much different from other types (& may be easier, due to
such things as the Jaws Frames List command INSERT+F9). As mentioned in the
EASI thread, there may be lots of users out there with older technology that
doesn't handle them so well. 
Also, I think there may be problems for low vision users, since the main
viewing area is smaller, & scrolling may not work as expected (see peter
Verhoeven's comments earlier today on the effects of increasing font size).


At 05:27 AM 4/24/02 , Jim Byrne wrote:
>I am some accessibility advice to an organisation designing a Website aimed
>at people with learning difficulties and those supporting people with
>learning difficulties. The designers want to build the site based on using
>Frames for navigation - quoting the W3c guidelines saying that they can be
>made accessible. For all the reasons I have listed on my site (see
>http://www.mcu.org.uk) I don't think this is a good idea - but I am keen to
>hear what people on this list think of frames and accessibility.
>If your were building a Website from scratch, that had to be accessible -
>would you use frames? If not why not?
Received on Wednesday, 24 April 2002 09:14:31 UTC

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