Frames in Database searching functions

Jon Knight jon at
Wed Jul 2 10:55:42 EDT 1997

On Wed, 2 Jul 1997, Jennifer Heise wrote:
> First, what do other people think about this use of frames?

I hate frames usually as well, but I think that using frames to deliver
search results in a clear way to a known community of browsers (ie one
where you can be sure that everyone has a frames capable browser) is the
least obnoxous use.  Just using frames for permanently on screen
navigation bars sucks IMHO, as it reduces visible display area for the
actual data you want to get at (and sometimes you can't get at it at all
on a non-frames capable browser). After all, precious few people can
manage to scroll to the top/bottom of a page to hit the navigation links
(and if they can't, their use of the web in general and frames in
particular is going to be less than fulfill for them!). 
> Second, what guidelines can we set up that would ensure that frames are only
> used when appropriate and only in the most appropriate way (if we are going to
> use them?

How about:

* Only use frames when you have a known community of frames capable
browsers and still provide a frame-less version if possible (I use
netscape as a GUI viewer but I still choose the frameless versions of
resources if I can).

* Make good use of the <NOFRAMES> element if you do use frames.  This is
ignored by frames capable browsers but can be used to deliver a frameless
version of the resource to non-frames capable browsers.  DON'T just use it
to tell people their their browsers suck and to upgrade to your current
favourite browser(s).

* Don't design frames that can only be viewed properly at 800x600 or
higher; make the content resolution independent.

* Don't use more than three frames at most; browser windows just get too
cluttered and confusing otherwise (especially for people with poor
sight/poor IT skills).

Tatty bye,


Jon "Jim'll" Knight, Researcher, Sysop and General Dogsbody, Dept. Computer
Studies, Loughborough University of Technology, Leics., ENGLAND.  LE11 3TU.
* I've found I now dream in Perl.  More worryingly, I enjoy those dreams. *

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