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Re: Frames and accessibility: opinions please

From: Peter Verhoeven <pav@oce.nl>
Date: Fri, 26 Apr 2002 08:20:12 +0200
Message-Id: <>
To: David Woolley <david@djwhome.demon.co.uk>, w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Hi David,

Frame titles are needed for navigations and they are also essential in 
browsers supprting frames for users of screen readers.
BTW: The basic problem on tweede-kamer.nl is, that most screen readers are 
not able to auto scroll the content "frame".
There are vertical trackbars on the content frame. If a screen reader is 
not able to auto page, how should somebody who is blind know, that there is 
more on that page and how should he or she access that?
This kind of construction are inaccessible!

Regards Peter Verhoeven

At 23:01 25-04-2002 +0100, David Woolley wrote:

> > If I check this with Bobby it seems not to be aware, that this is a frame
> > constructions. Bobby give no priority 1 checkpoint error on missing titles.
>That's because the titles aren't so important when you can see the whole
>thing at once.  I've always assumed the requirement for titles is to get
>round the problem where a frameset page displays as:
>FRAME: top
>FRAME: left
>FRAME: bottom
>FRAME: right
>and you have no idea which one to call up.
>The use of frames has *never* been reccommended by W3C.  If their use had
>been reccommended, their current state in HTML 4.0 and XHTML 1.0 would
>be deprecated (their status in the next version of XHTML is deleted).
>They only exist in the transitional versions that people should have
>started phasing out 4 or more years ago.
>The actual page actually works quite well in Lynx and IE5.5
>with scripting disabled, although it has the typical tag soup
>(e.g. <noscript><div></noscript>) and lack of alt attributes that one
>comes to expect of commercial quality web designs.  The tag soup might
>cause problems in browsers with different error recovery strategies.
> > It is impossible to:
> > - Navigate between frames;
> > - A frame can not be loaded in a new window, which is often a solution to
> > access a page.
>These too suggest recovery strategies from basically bad design.  With
>specific reference to navigating between frames, a pure CSS design (this
>looks like a hybrid tables CSS one) has the advantage that it can be
>written to linearise cleanly, so can be read easily with simple tools that
>don't attempt to honour the positioning at all.  Also, if you need to
>quickly access parts of the document, the good way of supporting this
>is to use Hn elements properly - I believe some AT tools will use these
>to advantage.
>Linearisation is essential if one is not restricted to designs which
>are basically only suitable for large pixel addressable displays.
> > - Most screen readers can not auto-page the content frame, so that
> > information outside the screen can never be accessed.
>Sounds very much like a half baked implementation.  The simple approach
>with something like Lynx will linearise the document, and there should be
>no problem - you can even put the navigation stuff to the end.  A full
>implementation would know how to cope with CSS scrollable boxes.
>I would rather have hoped that modern AT would access the document object
>model, not the screen image (they more or less have to access it at some
>level with GUI displays).
> > - Opera 6 crashes on this construction if Use default is turned of in Page
> > layout settings.
>Fix Opera if it crashes.  If it is simply confused by tag soup, blame the
>tag soup (which is common to most commercial pages) not the frame like
> > Last years AT Vendors did a lot of work to make frame constructions on the
>AT vendors have to work round the bad practice found in the wild; they
>don't have the luxury of optimising designs for reccommended practice
>(retire frames) if commercial designers insist on ignoring reccommendations.
> > Internet more accessible and any purpose not using the standard <FRAMESET>
>FRAMESET is not a standard.  It is a transitional reccommendation to be
>used until non-CSS browsers die out.  That transitional reccommendation is
>either no longer the current reccommendation from W3C or will very soon
>cease to be it.
>Incidentally, you will find that all the first line portal sites have frame
>like layouts (although they generally don't try and restict them to the
>screen height) without using frames, even though many once used them.
Received on Friday, 26 April 2002 02:22:20 UTC

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