Frame Titles and Layout

Frames can be used as a key design element to offer different sections (web pages) as a collection within one web page. There are some frame pros and cons to think about but frames can be made accessible with accurate titles and in the case of iframes an additional link to the content. There can be problems with orientation within frames as screen reader users may not receive clear guidance or know where they are within a web page if there are frames within frames or a lack of clear guidance as to where the focus within the page has settled. Once again W3C offer extensive information about frames. Hobo has an article that includes a paragraph on The Correct Use Of Framesand they highlight some of the issues that make life harder when using frames; from printing to problems for search engines as well as accessibility. The suggestion is to make use of Cascading Style Sheets.


Frame titles can be checked by using the FireFox Accessibility Evaluation Toolbar or AInspector Sidebar.

It is also important to check that the titles are meaningful.

iFrame check using Alnspector

Frame borders can be seen by looking at the page source (code) and searching for 'frame' or by using the Web Developer toolbar an add-on for Firefox or the Web Accessibility Toolbar (WAT) for Internet Explorer.

iFrame - manual check



This technique may be used to test the following sections of best practice.

Document Section Heading
WCAG 2.0 1.3 Create content that can be presented in different ways… More Info
WCAG 2.0 1.3.1 Info and Relationships More Info
WCAG 2.0 1.3.2 Meaningful Sequence More Info
WCAG 2.0 2.4.2 Page Titled More Info
WCAG 2.0 2.4.3 Focus Order More Info
WCAG 2.0 3.2.1 On Focus More Info
WCAG 2.0 3.2.2 On Input More Info

See Also

WCAG 2.0: Guideline 1.3 Adaptable: Create content that can be presented in different ways (for example simpler layout) without losing information or structure. Understanding Guideline 1.3

1.3.1 Info and Relationships: Information, structure, and relationships conveyed through presentation can be programmatically determined or are available in text. (Level A) How to Meet 1.3.1 | Understanding 1.3.1

1.3.2 Meaningful Sequence: When the sequence in which content is presented affects its meaning, a correct reading sequence can be programmatically determined. (Level A) How to Meet 1.3.2 | Understanding 1.3.2

2.4.2 Page Titled: Web pages have titles that describe topic or purpose. (Level A) How to Meet 2.4.2 | Understanding 2.4.2

2.4.3 Focus Order: If a Web page can be navigated sequentially and the navigation sequences affect meaning or operation, focusable components receive focus in an order that preserves meaning and operability. (Level A) How to Meet 2.4.3 | Understanding 2.4.3

3.2.1 On Focus: When any component receives focus, it does not initiate a change of context. (Level A) How to Meet 3.2.1 | Understanding 3.2.1

3.2.2 On Input: Changing the setting of any user interface component does not automatically cause a change of context unless the user has been advised of the behavior before using the component. (Level A) How to Meet 3.2.2 | Understanding 3.2.2