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RE: Frames and accessibility: opinions please

From: Jim Thatcher <jim@jimthatcher.com>
Date: Sat, 27 Apr 2002 14:50:25 -0500
To: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org>, Phill Jenkins <pjenkins@us.ibm.com>
Cc: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Message-id: <NDBBKJDAKKEJDCICIODLEEOLEDAA.jim@jimthatcher.com>

I don't understand why you think the 508 provision is inadequate. If the
titles (and also name attributes for Lynx and JFW) make the purposes of
frames clear, purposes like "local navigation" "main content," "global
navigation," and if the links are coded correctly (correct targets so the
frame set doesn't keep getting reloaded), then this framed system is simpler
to handle with a screen reader than a corresponding flattened unframed
version of the same site.

You referred to "two-dimensional" effect of frames. It is the fundamental
two-dimensional character of the display that makes it difficult to access
with (linear) speech. Frames, in my opinion, put a handle (title) on
sections of the display for the blind user to manipulate and access. Frames,
properly coded, can help to overcome some of difficulty of layout the
two-dimensional space.

Accessibility Consulting
Constructing Accessible Web Sites, is now available at Amazon:
I recommend it. It's a good book!

-----Original Message-----
From: w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org [mailto:w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org]On
Behalf Of Charles McCathieNevile
Sent: Friday, April 26, 2002 1:25 PM
To: Phill Jenkins
Cc: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Subject: Re: Frames and accessibility: opinions please

Potentially it would be cheaper to fix lynx. I am not convinced - doing it
right is normally extremely easy. But to fix lynx, and search engines, and
phone browsers, and so on, doesn't see like a very smart option.  With
respect to frames lynx in fact does not implement the full HTML 4.01
specification, giving access to all frames by title, and name, and to the
noframes content - I believe the only thing missing is access to the
longdesc, but I have not seen that widely implement either.

I would suggest thtat the 508 standard falls short of making things work for
people by suggesting that a title is sufficient - to navigate a frameset
sufficiently complex to have justified its existence it is worth having a
proper, noframes-based alternative in my opinion. This is not a complex
technical problem to resolve on teh authoring side, and there would appear
be many benefits to doing so - such as ensuring the author considers a
reasonable and clear navigation method for the site whether or not the
two-dimensional effect of frames is available.



On Fri, 26 Apr 2002, Phill Jenkins wrote:

  > Access Systems wrote:
  >   I run Lynx on linux.   it is a very basic system that is generally
  > accepted as the basic accessible system (as per sec 508) that needs to
  > provided access.

  > Nick Kew wrote:
  > Yes, I know it well.  And indeed, a framed site without adequate
  > noframes content can be most annoying in it.

  The Access Board guidance regarding FRAMES does not mention NOFRAMES, only

  See http://www.access-board.gov/sec508/guide/1194.22.htm#(i)

  Lynx on Linux is not mentioned as the basic accessible system either.

  Wouldn't it be less expensive to fix Lynx's current inability to support
  the complete HTML standard that to ask the many web developers to provide
  noframes version?

  Of course that wouldn't fix all the other non-accessibility problems with
  frames <frown>


Charles McCathieNevile    http://www.w3.org/People/Charles  phone: +61 409
134 136
W3C Web Accessibility Initiative     http://www.w3.org/WAI  fax: +33 4 92 38
78 22
Location: 21 Mitchell street FOOTSCRAY Vic 3011, Australia
(or W3C INRIA, Route des Lucioles, BP 93, 06902 Sophia Antipolis Cedex,
Received on Saturday, 27 April 2002 15:51:23 UTC

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