Site design - Using framesets


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Using framesets

The best recommendation is to avoid using framesets altogether, as they have several severe limitations (such as being difficult or impossible to link to while retaining the correct pages in the frames, or failing to show the frames when located using a search engine). They have been disallowed in the latest versions of HTML, due to the problems that they cause.

If using framesets, always include a <noframes> section, which gives an index page from where no frames are required to view the site. This could quite easily be a site map.

If someone is viewing your site without frames, do not force their browser to use frames with script. They may not want to see the frameset, or may have problems using a frameset interface. If you want to offer them the ability to see the frameset, do just that, offer a link to it, instead of forcing it on them.

If you use the <iframe> element, you should include alternative content between the opening and closing tags. This could be a link. This is because some browsers are not capable of displaying inline frames. Most browsers for the blind or visually impaired cannot view iframes. The worst case I have seen of this was when a site has a search facility as the only means of navigation, and the search facility was held in an iframe. Try never to make this sort of mistake - that is not a good use for iframes

Last modified: 15 February 2011

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