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Re: Frames and Accessibility

From: Julian Voelcker <asp@tvw.net>
Date: Fri, 17 Jan 2003 13:23:15 GMT
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Message-Id: <VA.0000061f.02f42b54@tvw.net>

Hi Jukka,

On Fri, 17 Jan 2003 14:11:26 +0200 (EET), Jukka K. Korpela wrote:
> Almost all frames-based sites would benefit in functionality and usability
> if they were transformed into frameless design. It's impossible whether
> either of your cases is an exception to the rule, especially we haven't
> got the URLs.

I would tend to agree, and generally try to avoid them, however in the two 
instances that I am looking at at the moment the use of frames greatly 
enhances the usability.

Unfortunately I can't publish a URL for the pages because they are all in a 
secure area.  If anyone wants to provide some serious feedback, I could 
setup a temporary account so that you can get in and have a look.

> There are about six basic points then:
> 1. Name the frames meaningfully. Listen to the names. "Messages" makes
>    sense; "top" does not. Use more verbose explanations too, in title
>    attributes in <frame>, but don't count on the titles.
> 2. Write a useful <noframes> element. Primarily, put there the content
>    you would have on the main page if you didn't use frames.
> 3. Don't try to hide the borders between frames, and don't try to
>    make the frames non-resizable.
> 4. Make sure the navigation works without JavaScript. (Quite a many
>    frames-based sites rely on JavaScript being enabled.)
> 5. Use as few frames as you can be persuaded to. Two frames is usually
>    tolerable. Ten frames is surely confusing, especially if nested.
> 6. Make sure that each framed page has a link to the main page of the
>    site. This is more of a usability issue, but fairly important.
>    The framed pages can and will be found through search engines, so
>    that users get links to them directly. (And attempts to prevent this
>    would create even more serious problems.)

Thanks of those  -I have come across most before but they serve as good 

> > - 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.
> It's hard to see what this refers to.

OK, for the library we have a frame on the left with a tree menu in it and 
then the content is displayed in the right hand page (a bit like windows 
explorer).  The tree menu builds in sizer as the user navigates down the 

If we were to combine the two pages into one, it would be impractical to 
refresh the page and build up the menu as people expand the nodes so would 
provide a branch at a time.

If this was put into the <noframes> section of the frameset, each time 
someone navigated down a level in the menu or clciked to view a particular 
pages content they will end up having to reload the frameset, the pages 
within the frameset and also the new content.

Hence the idea of letting the user specify their preference before the frame 
is loaded.


Julian Voelcker
Received on Friday, 17 January 2003 08:23:19 UTC

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