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Why Not to Use Frames on Your Website
By Victor H. Schlosser

Over the years, as the Internet has grown and expanded, website developers have worked very hard to try and stay just a "little fresher", or one step ahead of the competition. Different sizes of text, different colors of text, graphics, tables, bit maps, animations, frames, push technology, pull technology, layering, all of these are a means to an end... To get your page read!

I'm not going to discuss the others here (I'll save those for future reports). Today, I would like to talk to you about frames. I personally like frames if they are used properly. Some people seem to use them just because they can. This can make you site harder to navigate and a whole lot more confusing if not used properly.

Using frames should be like an other type of advertising or marketing strategy you use for your business, base the decision on whether or not it will enhance the message you are trying to get across. But make sure that you understand the trade-offs that go along with using them.

  1. The biggest trade-off. And probably enough reason by itself NOT to use frames: Search Engine robots do NOT read pages with frames!

    When they encounter a frames page all they see is they outline of the frames, the <frameset>. They don't see any links so they assume it is a dead page (or a dead site) and they move on. This can be disastrous for a web-site.

    If you want to generate sales, you need customers. To get customers you first need to get people to your web-site. To do this, you need the Search Engines. To go to the time, trouble, and expense of setting up an Internet Store (web-site) and then to deliberately block your site from the Search Engines is like opening up a retail store but painting the windows black and not putting up a sign. You are open for business, but nobody knows it, unless they happen to accidently stumble in.

  2. Frames can oftentimes be confusing, especially if all of them have scrollbars going up/down and left/right. Besides taking up a lot of your already limited screenspace, the scrollbars are just distracting. This can cause a lot of people to leave your site immediately. They figure that if your front page is confusing (and that is the page you are using to draw them in) that the rest of the site probably isn't worth their time or trouble either.

  3. Navigation. You have to have Everything just right when you are using frames. If you don't, when you click on a link it can come up in the wrong window, thus destroying what was there and probably blowing any and all formatting that you had done. And, if linked pages come up in the window where the Links are supposed to be, the person is trapped on your site, in your frames, with nowhere to go.

Frames can be useful, but having your main site done in frames is not wise. Look around at other sites that have frames, try top navigate them, and try to read and see everything using all the scroll bars. Then... think about your average customer. Is this something you would want to put them through? Is it something you would want to have to go through if you were the client?

Source: "Victor H. Schlosser"

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