Should You Use Frames?
Frames are one of the most controversial uses of HTML. Objections to frames center around a few basic issues:
Frames Block Out Many People Whose Browsers Are Frames Incapable
When designing a framed site, it's important to remember that many people use browsers that can't handle frames. Contrary to some people's perceptions, this is not just because the user is too lazy to "get a real browser". Some people use text or audio browsers which render material in a linear fashion. Others simply dislike frames and turn them off in their browser's settings. If you don't include
no-frames content, you are simply leaving out a portion of your potential audience.
Frames Are Often Misused
Probably the biggest problem with frames is that it is so easy to use them incorrectly. The web is filled with pages that use frames not because they are correct for the situation but because "they're cool". This is what gives frames a bad name. If you are considering using frames, make the choice based on what works best for your site, not on the mere availablility of "special effects".
The Functionality of Frames Can Already Be Achieved Through More Standard HTML
Most things that can be done with frames can be done without them... and in fact
should be done without them anyway because you should always have a no-frames alternative. In fact, this is the reason many designers have abandoned frames: redundant effort. When I queried one large web site as to why they stopped having frames and no-frames versions the web master replied that it was too much work keeping them synchronized.
Here's a simple procedure to follow if you are considering using frames. First, design and build your site without frames. You have to do that anyway to provide a no-frames alternative. Once your site works without frames, look it over and decide if adding frames is worth the additional effort. If so, then your site probably really is one of the few sites that truly benefits from frames.