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ACM SIGCHI WWW Human Factors (Open Discussion)


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Thu, 4 Feb 1999 09:56:21 -0000
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I work in electronic commerce as well.  Most of our clients want frames.
We build the sites with or without frames as our clients request.
I read through the link which Scott B sent us on Frames.
I agree for broad based informational sites, the pros & cons make sense.
However, for e-commerce sites, where we do not want our sub pages
bookmarked, because they are on a secure site, etc... we find that these
cons for frames do not seem to apply.

5 Fatal Flaws of Web Design
This is item #4:

 "4. Break with frames. Frames violate the fundamental user model of the
Web. With frames, you can't bookmark the current page and return to it,
URLs stop working, and printing out becomes difficult. Even worse,
predictability goes out the door: There's no telling what information will
appear when you click on a link. "

I think what is important here is that the author is writing for general
web page design.
As this applies to us, it looks like making the Sign-On page frameless
would suffice, as this is the only page we want them to bookmark.

URL's continue to work, as ours do not have URL's except for the site
specific ones.  On a secure site, we do not have links which go outside our
domain.  The only page we want bookmarked is the home and sign-on pages.
 Links to these pages should include "Target=_top" to make sure the page
replaces any existing frameset.  This should be true of non-framed page

A little consumer education in the help file would help here.  Click in the
frame you want to print before printing it.  This is how you print the
frame you want.  It prints the Title, page 1 of 1, the date and the time.
 Here the lesson learned is to have Meaningful title pages if the site is

The last sub-item - unpredicable links:
Not Applicable either.  Our sites have no links outside the FI domain.
Broken links are not a "Frames/ NO Frames" issue.  Frameless sites have
URL's that are broken or "no telling where you are going" as well.

-----Original Message-----
From:   Michael Albers [SMTP:[log in to unmask]]
Sent:   Thursday, February 04, 1999 1:41 PM
To:     [log in to unmask]
Subject:        Re: Frames pros and cons

Many on-line stores and other sites create the page dynamically.  How will
this affect the use of bookmarking and what type of usability
considerations will it bring up in the design?

Assume, for an on-line computer store, you bookmark a CD-ROM.  A month
later, when you can buy it, the store has discontinued that item.  What
should your bookmark lead to?  Is it the discontinued item, the replacement
item, or a 'not found' error.

I see that as dynamic page generation uses more information content that is
truly dynamic (as opposed to static data sitting in a database), that a
whole new set of issues for effective design and later!! retrieval will
become an issue.  Is anyone addressing this area now?

Mike Albers

>I still find it hard to comprehend that many online stores like
MacWarehouse/PC Warehouse et al are framed -- so you can't bookmark info
for returning later. Instead, each time you are required to either
drill-drill-drill or subject yourself to their (non-discriminatory) search