Making Accessible Websites for the United Nations

Page Design: Coding

Frames

WAI Definition (Checkpoints 12.1 and 12.2)

Title each frame to facilitate frame identification and navigation.

Describe the purpose of frames and how frames relate to each other if it is not obvious by frame titles alone.

Explanation

Using frames is not recommended, but if they must be used, it is very important to use descriptive frame names and define them in the <noframes> tag.

Rationale

Users of older and limited browsers or users using screen readers have difficulty in navigating web pages that use frames. When these users open a page with frames, they are presented with a list of frames that make up the page. The user must then navigate each frame individually, a frustrating task if the frame titles are confusing. If this occurs, the user is forced to open each frame individually, review the content and then try to figure out how it relates to the other frames on the page.

Technique

Use a descriptive frame title.

A frame named "nav" is not very informative; instead, the frame's name should be something like "navigation".

Use the <noframes> tags to provide links with access to the content without frames in the event that frames are not supported.

Example

<frameset>
  <frame name="banner" src="banner.html">
  <frame name="navigation" target="main" src="navigation.html">
  <frame name="main" src="main.html" >
</frameset>
<noframes>
  <p>This page uses frames, but your browser doesn't support them.</p>
  <p>Please select the page you wish to navigate to from the list below:</p>
  <ul>
    <li><a href="navigation.html">Navigation page</a></li>
    <li><a href="main.html">Main Page</a></li>
  </ul>
</noframes>

Validation

Test

Open the page source for the entire frame. In the browser, go to Menu > View > Source to check that there are proper alternatives inside the <noframes> tag.

Success Criteria

Content in the <noframes> tag provides an accurate description of each frames as well as links to access the content of the frames.