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California State University, Long Beach
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Web Accessibility: Frames

§1194.22 (i) Frames shall be titled with text that facilitates frame identification and navigation.

Introduction to Accessible Frames

A frameset is a web page which defines a collection of at least two other separate web pages, which are combined in the same visual space. Visual users usually experience framesets as a cohesive entity. They can scan the contents of multiple pages all at once.

Those using screen readers cannot quickly scan the contents of multiple pages. All of the content is experienced in a linear fashion, one frame at a time. Frames are not inaccessible to modern screen readers, but they can be disorienting.

The screen reader JAWS usually reads all of the frames in a frameset, almost as if they belong to the same page. The user is alerted by the screen reader that a frameset is present. It then continues to read all of the pages in the frameset. There is also a keyboard shortcut which allows the reader to jump quickly between frames. These keyboard shortcuts are available in the Keyboard Shortcuts for JAWS page in the Appendix.

Other programs handle frames differently. Home Page Reader does not automatically read the pages in the frameset. Instead, it presents the user with a list of frames within the frameset and allows the user to choose which frame to go to first.

Next Section: Frame Accessibility