Web Site Design: Using Html Frames, Pros And Cons

Frames are a significant part of HTML. Learn how frames can help, or hurt, the design of a Web site.Tips on how to learn when to use them on a page.

Frames are one of the most important innovations in HTML (Hypertext Markup Language). They give Web designers the ability to break up an Internet browser into different pieces, allowing unique content to appear in each one. If used properly, frames can add a great deal of organization and clarity to a Web site. But if used improperly, they can confuse Web surfers quite a bit. In any event, the application of frames has a series of pros and cons that every designer, beginner to advanced, must consider:


* Frames can display more than one Web page on screen at a time. Each page can appear in its own individual frame, eliminating the need for Web surfers to visit a series of different Web pages.

* Frames simplify navigation. This is done by keeping the contents of one frame unchanged, while modifying the contents of another. For example, a static left frame can display a group of links that, when clicked, display dynamic content in an adjacent right frame. Visitors get the illusion they're looking at one Web page with changing text and graphics. Simplifying navigation increases the likelihood that visitors will remain at, and return to, a Web site.

* Frames add diversity. A Web site can address a certain topic in one frame, and tackle an entirely different subject in another, increasing the possibility that visitors can find something that interests them. In this manner, frames broaden a Web site's appeal and help build traffic.

* Frames expand creative options. Designers have a variety of ways to organize and display their content, and manage their Web site's overall look, resulting in endless possibilities.

* Frames segregate advertising and marketing elements. Banners, logos, and promotional ads can be easily displayed in their own frames, away from a Web site's main content. This help guarantees that an Web surfer's browsing experience remains relatively uninterrupted.


* Frames are not supported by some older browsers. A visitor with an outdated browser will not be able to view a Web site with frames. Therefore, if designers want to reach the largest potential audience, they may have to create two versions of their Web site: one with frames, and one without. Of course, this additional effort could be quite time-consuming.

* Frames can be difficult to master. Using frames involve several procedures and techniques that may confuse the beginning designer. In addition, several new HTML tags must be learned.

* Frames are not error-free. Using frames increases the possibility of making mistakes. It's fairly easy to have the wrong content appear in the wrong frame. Such a blunder, if not fixed, will likely irritate visitors, causing them to abruptly leave a Web site.

* Frames can lead to a poorly-designed site. Some abuse the use of frames. They're guilty of either creating a Web site with too many frames, or cramming too many design elements into a single frame.

* Frames have rather unsightly borders. However, they can be removed, giving your Web site a seamless appearance. Needless to say, borderless frames are used by most designers.

Like them or not, frames are here to stay. But they are a tool that must be used judiciously. They can add unlimited functionality to Web pages, enticing visitors to return. Or they can drive away Web surfers from a site""for good. Fortunately, the success or failure of implementing frames solely depends on the talents of the Web designer.

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