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Repeat of frame ideas

From: Scott Luebking <phoenixl@netcom.com>
Date: Tue, 8 Dec 1998 20:05:55 -0800 (PST)
Message-Id: <199812090405.UAA11161@netcom19.netcom.com>
To: w3c-wai-ua@w3.org
Here's a condensation on the information I've sent out before about frames.


Frames can be kind of awkward for a blind person to use with a screen
reader.  One of the problems is trying to figure out what each frame is
used for.  Other problems can be navigating between frames or
controlling each frame.

An alternative to displaying all the frames at the same time is to show
a single frame at a time and let the user switch among frames.  This
"single frame mode" can be much easier for a blind user.

When a browser gets a page with a frameset, the browser reads all the
files for the various frames.  If the browser were in the single frame
mode, instead of displaying all the frames, the browser could generate a
new web page which has a summary of the various frames along with links
to the web page for each frame.  The browser would then read the
generated web page with the frameset summary and display it on the
screen.  The user could choose which frame to see by choosing the
appropriate link on the summary web page.

When the browser is in the "single frame mode", it will need to support
the following user actions.

    1.  display summary web page for current frameset

    2.  go to web page in next frame area in list of web pages / frame areas
	for the current frameset

    3.  go to web page in previous frame area in list of web pages / frame
	areas for the current frameset

    4.  return to page for previous frame area

    5.  go back in web pages for the same frame area as the current
        web page

    6.  go forward in web pages for the same frame area as the current
        web page

    7.  bookmark web page for current frame (rather than web page
        for all the frames)

The user action numbered 4 is slightly different than user action
marked 3.  User action 4 lets to user jump directly back to the web page
for the frame area he/she was previously viewing.  For example,
suppose that the user is viewing a web page for a frame area.  Now
suppose that the user selects a new web page from the summary.
If the user wants to return to the old web page when done reading
the new web page, instead of using the summary to make the change,
the user could just use user action 4.

The summary page could have two formats.  One would be pretty basic
like the one some lynx browsers use.  The other format could give
more information for each frame like:

      number of links
      number of forms
      number of tables
      number of images
      number of significant words
      any description

The command to present the summary page could also be used to toggle
between the two formats once the summary page is being shown.

This information can help a user get an impression about the purpose of
each page in a frame.  For example, if the web page in a frame has many
links, but few significant words, then the page is probably an index of
some kind.  A web page with many significant words is probably a text
page.  A web page with only a couple of pictures and few significant
words or links is probably for decoration.

An additional helpful feature will be if a browser is in single frame mode
and the user selects a link which changes the page in a different frame area,
the browser should automatically switch to that new page in the
different frame area.

Some additional cuing might be needed to remind the user that the web
page being viewed has frames.  The cuing will also be useful when moving
backward or forward in the stack of web pages.
Received on Tuesday, 8 December 1998 23:05:59 UTC

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