Clearing the obstacle of frames

The British Olympic Association's Web designer eschews frames like a steroid-free athlete avoids drugs

The British Olympic Association's Web designer eschews frames like a steroid-free athlete avoids drugs

To use frames or not to use frames? That is the question, writes Guy Campos. Steve Betsworth, the Web designer who redesigned the British Olympic Association's Web site earlier this year, has refused frames like an Olympic athlete faced with an offer of a banned substance.

Betsworth has three reasons for leaving frames out of the frame. First, there are still a few surfers using version three browsers that don't support them. He feels universal accessibility is especially important for an Olympic site, which could attract hits from around the world. Second, he avoids frames because sites based on them can take longer to download and many search engines don't rank frames-based sites very highly.

He could, of course, have created a non-frames based version of a site as well as a frames version. But if you're going to do that, why create the frames version at all? he asks.

In creating a non-frames site, Betsworth was in part inspired by his study of the UEFA European football Web site which offered easy navigation without frames. This site appeared to fit in with his guiding philosophy that you should never be more than three clicks away from any information you want.

However, Betsworth may now be rueing his non-frames decision since he has the task of updating the site with the latest information. Every time he adds a new button to the site he has to add the code to many pages rather than just adding it once.

He wants to move to Active Server Pages, enabling association staff to input additions and changes to the Web site straight into a Microsoft Access database, but that must wait until the association has found a different hosting partner for its Web site.

With the Sydney Olympics now under way, the Web site is providing a link to the latest results of the British team as reported on the official Sydney Olympics Web site based in Australia. To make sure viewers don't lose contact with the British site, results from Australia are opened in a new Web page.

An alternative would be to open the Sydney Web pages within a frame - but that is not an option in Betsworth's frame-free world.

Curriculum vitae

Name: Steve Betsworth

Age: 33

Qualifications: O-levels, CSEs, HNC in building

IT skills: HTML, Flash Director, Dreamweaver, Photoshop, Illustrator, Javascript, Perl, CGI-scripting, ASP

Hobbies: drawing, painting, photography

Favourite book: Photoshop 5 Studio Techniques, Adobe Press

Favourite pub: The Fox, Felpham, West Sussex

Betsworth on Betsworth: good under pressure

Read more on Web software