20 years in the web design business has allowed me to see a lot of change.
So, who remembers frames? You know that clunky, multi-document approach to leaving branding and navigation in place while the user scrolled?
I have fond memories of heated debates I had with our team years ago about frames. Believe it or not, I was a fan of the evil technique. I always felt that leaving navigation and branding in place for the user had some real value.
Navigation is essential for guiding users through a site’s content, and an effective and useful navigation must be accessible and intuitive. Frames allowed essential website elements, like branding and navigation, to stay in place while the rest of the website content moved around it. This made it easy for users to find what they were looking for, no matter where they were on a site.
Of course, I was never a designer or developer, so I didn’t have to deal with the nasty details of making a frames site work. Let alone the mess that they made for the search engines if not done properly.
As it turns out, a little over a decade later, the concept has returned. Today it’s done by setting a fixed position of elements from within the CSS. It’s fair to point out that it’s much cleaner this way and doesn’t require the multiple html docs that frames did.
I’d be willing to bet that many who argued vehemently against frames years ago, if they are still web developers today, have either built or will soon build a site with fixed navigation and branding. They don’t even realize that they are helping to bring back an old technique they once fought so hard against.
Have additional thoughts about the return of frames? We’d love to hear them!