Re: Frames - does anyone like them?

F. E. Potts (fepotts@fepco.com)
Tue, 20 Aug 1996 23:11:06 -0600


Date: Tue, 20 Aug 1996 23:11:06 -0600
From: fepotts@fepco.com (F. E. Potts)
Message-Id: <96Aug20.231504mdt.18433@gw2.fepco.com>
To: www-html@w3.org
Subject: Re: Frames - does anyone like them?

David Perrel wrote (regarding frames):

> > I like them better than not. When used with a graphical
> > index/contents list of fixed size, they can make a site more easily
> > navigable, and they're handy with JavaScript for maintaining
> > control of the window.

Sean Howard wrote in response: 

> I disagree in that navigation is actually more difficult to a user.
> I agree on your later statement that they're not usually
> "well-implemented".  Navigation can be confusing and bewildering to
> users. We've performed a focus group for a frames site and had many
> complaints from new users...

There are many who dislike frames, and with reason.  But when frames
are used properly (which, unfortunately, is rarely the case, just as
lousy HTML is more often than not the case), they make a site easier to
use, and its data more compact.

Let me provide an example.  This example is an award-winning book that
has been converted into HTML and placed on the web, complete with
illustrations.  The body of the work is in one space (not frame), and
that body of work has two interfaces for the Table of Contents: 1), a
normal "Home Page" style TOC; and 2), a frame version.  Here are the
URLs, and you can compare ease of use to determine which "front-end" is
the most successful:

	http://www.fepco.com/bf.frame.html       (frame version)
	http://www.fepco.com/Bush_Flying.html    (regular version)

> Finally, it's the whole world of shrinking windows. I recently read
> an article in HOW (ugh) that went on and on about a site with a NEW
> concept in keeping people at their site, even when visiting links to
> other sites. What happens when you visit a site with frames?

You stick around, exploring, until you get bored, then you move on.
:-)  Keep in mind that it is the site's <em>content</em> that matters,
not its silly flash.  "Cool sites", IMHO, ain't worth, er, nothing (to
use a polite euphemism).

> Give me a WYSIWYG structure to the web and I'll give you frames that
> could work and be of use. Someone needs to change the paradigm or
> stick to information encodding forms of markup...sigh...

Hardly.  You got WYSIWYG.  All you need is vi or emacs -- if you can't
tell what your pages are gonna look like while writing them, you don't
have a good grasp on the subject.  Putting in your markup while writing
your pages is no more difficult than putting in punctuation.

> No. Your quest for more control is to be understood, and frankly, I
> think it's wrong to flame such requests. We ALL would probably enjoy
> a system where more control was available to the author (okay,
> probably none of the hard core purists...<g>) but HTML is not such a
> system.

The better our tools, the better we can work.  And the web presents
problems of <gasp>presentation</gasp> that we don't have to deal with
in paper publishing.  But the web also gives us the freedom to escape
the Lowest-Common-Denominator and its enforcers, the main-stream
publishing and distribution system, and for that boon alone everything
is worthwhile.

> Sean <DREAMING>of getting a life one day that doesn't involve hiding
> my online time from the wife</DREAMING>

We all dream, Sean, and by dreaming we survive.

Regards...
Fred

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