Have you been Framed

Author:  Nola Young  

 Have you ever wondered why some Web sites seem easier to navigate than others? Perhaps those sites had navigation buttons on the left, right or top of the page that remained constant, giving you a sense of where you were at all times. Yet, while visiting other Web sites you were never quite sure where you were. You probably had to rely on the back and forward buttons of the Web browser to help you navigate through those sites. It’s likely that the easy-to-navigate sites were frames-based sites.

What is a frames-based site? It is the division of the browser’s window into two or more separate areas. Typically, this division occurs on the left of the browser window and is intended to provide content links to the rest of your site. This area remains constant while the right-framed area changes, depending on which topic you choose.

Two of the most common problems associated with frames-based sites are:

  1. For computer owners with a 15 to 17 inch average screen size and an available resolution of 640 x 480 and 800 x 600 pixels, dividing a browser window into separate frames can lower valuable visual real estate. Solution: If your information cannot be presented in a side-based frame, you may want to use a top navigational frame. The top navigation theory is not unlike common business software that lists your options along the top and gives you the whole width of the screen below for your work. Remember to keep your top frame fairly simple, allowing as much room as possible on the bottom frame. Text links, rather than buttons, work well in this
  2. Some search engines and directories treat frames as if they are links within your main page. The engines will review and index your main page and, at a later date, return to index frames and internal links within your Web site and each individual

The Solution:

 In order to have your main page indexed (typically index.htm or default.htm) accurately and efficiently, you should add some descriptive text between the and tags of the HTML source coding. This text should include your most important keywords and keyword phrases. Additionally, you should add a home button somewhere on each page of your Web site (typically at the bottom) that points to the index or default frameset. If a visitor finds any one of your pages in a directory they can click on the home button to view your site in its entirety, including the navigational frame structure. Though many developers have moved away from frame-based technology, it is still the preferred navigation method for most visitors. A good Web designer will review all of the design and navigation options with you to help you decide which method would best present your information.

Quick Tips:

  •  If your information cannot fit into a left-framed Web site, consider a top-framed Web
  • Have your developer put your keywords in the tags of the HTML source
  • Place a home button, that links to the default frameset, on the bottom of every

Nola Young is the president of KW Digital Solutions. Send your comments or questions by email or call 519-741-7641.