W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-wai-ig@w3.org > April to June 2002

Re: Frames and accessibility: opinions please

From: Jim Byrne <j.byrne@gcal.ac.uk>
Date: Wed, 24 Apr 2002 14:38:22 +0100
To: W3c_Access <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <B8EC73DE.105A4%j.byrne@gcal.ac.uk>
Thanks for your comments Patrick.

I agree that the main problems are probably usability rather than
accessibility - but my gut feeling is this: if a major aim of the site is to
ensure that it is accessible then it is a bit 'off the mark' to decide to
design it using frames.

Ideally I would like to be able to back my gut feeling up with some examples
and counter arguments about why using frames is the wrong way to go. However
if I'm wrong, and here is no real basis to argue against frames - then I
would also like to be hear the basis of that case.

I'll check out the EASI list - I haven't looked - but I assume it is
archived somewhere?

All the best,

on 24/4/02 2:12 pm, Patrick Burke at burke@ucla.edu wrote:

> 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
> button
> (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
> navigation
> 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
> new
> 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
> active
> viewing area is smaller, & scrolling may not work as expected (see peter
> Verhoeven's comments earlier today on the effects of increasing font size).
> Patrick
> At 05:27 AM 4/24/02 , Jim Byrne wrote:
>> Hi,
>> 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?
>> Thanks,
>> Jim

Jim Byrne Project Director, The Making Connections Unit, Glasgow Caledonian
University, Glasgow G4 OBA, 0141 331 3893

Everything you need to know about publishing accessible information on the

Services: Website Accessibility Audits, Accessible Web design, Accessible
Website Management Training.

The Making Connections Unit: http://www.mcu.org.uk/
Scottish Disability Information Mailing list:
Received on Wednesday, 24 April 2002 09:38:25 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.1 : Tuesday, 13 October 2015 16:21:18 UTC