Controversial Web 'Framing' Makes a Comeback

Published on May 1, 2009
by Marisa Taylor

When Digg introduced a new toolbar in early April that added a thin strip – known as a ‘frame’ – to the top of pages submitted to Digg, a publisher outcry forced the social media aggregator to back down. It modified the new DiggBar so that only logged-in users would view submitted stories within a Digg frame and Web address, and also offered them the option to turn off the toolbar altogether.

But despite Digg’s move, the controversial practice of framing seems to be making a comeback on the Web. Danny Sullivan, editor of the Web site wrote in an article about Digg’s toolbar changes, that Facebook, and StumbleUpon have all begun framing links recently.

Web usability expert Jakob Nielsen argues that “frames break the fundamental user model of the web page.” “All of a sudden, you cannot bookmark the current page and return to it (the bookmark points to another version of the frameset), URLs stop working, and printouts become difficult. Even worse, the predictability of user actions goes out the door: who knows what information will appear where when you click on a link?”

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