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Frames

In and of themselves, neither frames or iframes are inaccessible. They tend to cause more issues with usability than accessibility. For example, users cannot link directly to content that a frame or iframe may contain, and that content cannot be bookmarked. Users may also find that frames "break the 'back' button."

When you implement frames, however, you'll want to make sure that you:

  • Give the frame or iframe a meaningful title so that its purpose is clear.
  • Assure that keyboard users do not get "trapped" in the frame.

Meaningful titles help screen reader users navigate among frames. Titles for orientation are especially important when content in one frame changes based on a change made in another frame.

You may need to hide frames used to retrieve JavaScript content, such as in a Web application. It is important to hide those frames (and the strange frame titles that are often generated) from screen reader users, too, just as they are hidden from visual users. Making sure hidden frames are hidden from the Paciello Group's blog provides some ways to resolve this issue. Based on this newer article from the same source, HTML5 Accessibility Chops: hidden and aria-hidden, it seems that the HTML5 hidden attribute is now well-supported by assistive technologies.

Target Audience: 
Content Creator
Designer
Developer
Last modified: 
April 22, 2015