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Frames and Accessibility

From: Julian Voelcker <asp@tvw.net>
Date: Fri, 17 Jan 2003 11:31:07 GMT
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Message-Id: <VA.0000061b.028d8a00@tvw.net>

Hi,

I have a site that uses frames for some sections due to the nature of 
the information being provided.

The main use is a large library of over 5,000 pages that are navigable 
via a tree menu.  The menu is in one frame and the content is displayed 
in another.

The other use is for an on line chat facility where we have three main 
frames, one listing the messages that have been posted, one that 
displays the messages when selected from the previous frame and then a 
'hidden' frame containing a page that is refreshing every few seconds 
checking to see if any new messages have been posted - if there is a 
new message it refreshes the message listing page.

OK, I am now trying to convert the site so that it is as accessible as 
possible using XHTML, CSS - I am aiming for WAI-AA.

The problem is I am not 100% sure what to do about the frames.

I can't realistically get rid of them totally because it degrades the 
functionality for normal users too much.

So, do I..

1. Put an alternative version in the <noframes> section - this might be 
a little tricky because bother areas of functionality will require 
refreshing/reloading the page which will result in the frames being 
continually loaded.

2. Provide an explanation in the <noframes> section and then a link to 
an alternative page.

3. Provide a link to an alternative page along side the link to the 
framed pages?

4. As part of our strive for accessibility we have added a page so that 
users can set their own fonts, colours, etc.  We could expand that so 
that users can specify whether they are happy to use frames or not and 
then deliver what they can handle.

What do you think is the best approach?

Cheers,

Julian Voelcker
Received on Friday, 17 January 2003 06:31:10 GMT

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