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Re: Web Frames Accessibility Question

From: Ian Jacobs <ij@w3.org>
Date: Tue, 20 Jun 2000 12:18:37 -0400
Message-ID: <394F995D.C2515F7@w3.org>
To: Lubow Scott <lubow_scott@bah.com>
CC: wai-wcag-editor@w3.org, Schaffer Jeff <schaffer_jeff@bah.com>, w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
Lubow Scott wrote:
> Hello,
> Under the working groups priority 1 checkpoints, it states that you must
> provide a text equivalent page for pages with frames (checkpoint 1.1).
> Checkpoint 12.1 states that you must title each frame.  I was wondering
> if this means that you must do both, checkpoint 1.1 and 12.1.  It seems
> redundant to title frames and then also create a text equivalent page.


As I read checkpoint 1.1 today, I think it may be a bug in the
spec [1] to have included frames in this list. 

Frames are generally used to create a two-dimensional graphical 
presentation. There's nothing inherently inaccessible about doing
that (though we hope CSS positioning will replace frames, and
frames are not promoted by W3C). However, if designed poorly, 
a frameset may not linearize well -  relationships among 
components may not "translate" to a serial rendering and therefore
a page may be unusable by users who access it serially (e.g.,
blind users).

Frames can be made accessible through a combination of efforts
by authors and user agents: authors are required to title frames
properly and to provide frameset alternatives when the frameset
does not make sense when linearized. User agents must provide
navigation mechanisms so that users can get at components quickly
when rendered linearly. 

I do not believe that it is necessary to provide a 
"text equivalent" for a frameset, notably one that only 
contains text content. To make the frameset accessible, ensure
that is linearizes sensibly (frames should be titled for this
reason) and if not, provide an alternative to the frameset
that does. I note that it is preferable to avoid an alternative
page and to make the frameset accessible directly.
An alternative to the frameset need not be text exclusively, 
as long as the alternative content is itself accessible (e.g., 
images with text equivalents, etc.). 

I will forward these comments to the GL Working Group for 
their consideration.

Thank you,

 _ Ian

[1] http://www.w3.org/WAI/GL/WD-WCAG10-2000615

> Scott Lubow
> Consultant
> Booz Allen & Hamilton
> 703-917-2110

Ian Jacobs (jacobs@w3.org)   http://www.w3.org/People/Jacobs
Tel:                         +1 831 457-2842
Cell:                        +1 917 450-8783
Received on Tuesday, 20 June 2000 12:18:50 UTC

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