longdesc (HTML attribute)
For non-visual browsers (for
example, people accessing web content using screen reader software), it
can be difficult to understand what each
frame in a
frameset is used for. The simplest way to identify a
frame’s content/purpose is with the
title (coming soon!)
attribute (as shown in the example, it should only be a brief
description - a helpful summary rather than an unnecessarily
overcomplicated hurdle). In order to provide more information/orientation
for non-visual browsers, you may use the
attribute to point to a file that contains a complete description of the
frame’s purpose or content.
attribute refers to a .txt:
<frameset rows="100,*" > <frame src="header.html" frameborder="1" name="nav" title="Navigation window"/> <frame src="home.html" frameborder="0" name="main" title="Main window" longdesc="main-description.txt"/> </frameset>
URL for a file which contains the extra descriptive text, most likely a simple .txt file.
longdesc attribute has almost zero practical use,
even with today’s good standards-aware browsers. Despite the best
intentions, no browser on the support charts makes it clear to the user
when there is extra information for the frame in the form of a descriptive
text file. But why would they need to, though? If you can see the content,
the content effectively explains itself! (But given that the
longdesc is intended for non-visual
browsers, it’s not surprising that the browsers tested do not do
anything with this attribute.)
In place of (or even in addition to)
longdesc attribute, it may be
appropriate to include a quick summary of the page in the document itself.
However, that very much depends on the type of content - it may not be
suitable for all pages.
A better approach to creating a complex page with framesets and then having an additional maintenance overhead of a descriptive file for a frame is simply to avoid framesets altogether - keep it simple.