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Using iframes: what are the accessibility and usability issues?



1:39 pm on Sep 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I'm looking at revising one website in a way that would make heavy use of iframes. It's not a commercial site (not even Adsense), and I'm not very tech-savvy, but I want to have things set up as well as possible. The only info I can find on the topic through a search on the W3C website is a statement that every iframe requires alternate content, but that statement is in a list identified as "in discussion."

I'm hoping someone(s) here can tell me how iframes relate to accessibility and usability. Are they handled the same way as other frames on a page would be, or are they a different animal? The content in the iframe would be accessible in itself (if the person were actually on that page, which is the way the site is set up now), but does just the fact that it's in the frame make it inaccessible and bring up the need to have alternate content on the page holding the frame?

This is probably a confusing way to ask a simple question...

[edited by: Beagle at 1:42 pm (utc) on Sep. 15, 2006]


1:55 pm on Sep 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member pageoneresults is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

16.5 Inline frames: the IFRAME element

There are a variety of options available to you in making the <iframe> accessible and search friendly. Your accessible content goes between <iframe>Accessible content here</iframe>.

Search Google for accessible iframes and you'll find a few resources that discuss this further.


1:03 am on Sep 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Thanks. The piece you linked to was a bit much for me, but I did find some good resources by searching with MSN- ;) -and I think I'm beginning to catch on.

The content I'd have within the iframes would be simple HTML. What I'm trying to do is make the content viewable from several pages in different parts of the site without needing to replicate the content on each of those pages. Besides using the iframe tags as you showed, another suggestion I found was providing a link to the content source for browsers that don't support iframes; but it seems to me the tags would be simpler for the person viewing, rather than having to follow extra links.

The other option I can think of would be to use a database to call up the content on the appropriate pages, but I'm guessing that would be even more of an accessibility difficulty than the iframes - am I right/wrong on that?

The other other option is to keep doing what I've been doing, which is basically linking all over creation! As the site grows, it's getting more difficult to keep the navigation simple. If I do some more thinking on that, I might come up with a better system.

Guess there are a lot of things I need to look at yet, but the input's very helpful. Thanks.

[edited to make more sense - I hope]

[edited by: Beagle at 1:05 am (utc) on Sep. 16, 2006]


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