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Chapter 10. Enhancing Web Sites with Fra... > Design Corner: Advantages and Disadv...

Design Corner: Advantages and Disadvantages of Frames

You should be aware, before you decide to use frames on any part of your site, that framed pages inspire loathing in many users of the Web. This isn't new—dislike of the technique was already evident in 1996, when frames began popping up here and there on Web sites. However, it was believed then (mostly by those Web designers who liked frames) that this irritation would go away as people got used to the technique. However, the dislike is still very much with us.

The chief advantage of frames—consisting of allowing one part of the screen to change its content in response to links in another part—seems to be outweighed by their drawbacks. A major problem is that the URL of a framed page (the URL appearing in the browser's Address or Location bar) belongs to the highest level of the frameset. Consequently, the URLs of the contained pages are not readily accessible to the user, if at all. This makes bookmarking a contained page extremely awkward. Furthermore, the frames make the Back button's behavior nonintuitive, and they have a confusing effect on search engines. Even worse, saving a framed page is difficult for an unsophisticated user because simply clicking File, Save As in his browser saves the top-level frame, which is probably not the item he wants.


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