Some of most god-awful sites Iíve ever seen have used frames. To be fair though, Iíve seen some that used tables that were just as bad.
Frames require what is called a "Frameset" page. This is most important thing. If itís layed out weird, then frames will either A.) Not work at all, or B.) look hideous! The Frameset page is just what it says, a framework for rest of site. In each section (or Frame) there is a complete webpage, even if itís just a graphic. The Frameset page tells browser WHERE each of these complete pages goes. So if you have a page with lots of information crammed into a narrow frame what you get is frustrating for visitor at best.
Good rule of thumbÖ Keep it Simple!!! Some of most annoying framed pages Iíve ever seen are ones that have a bazillion different frames. And when I say a bazillion, I mean anything over say three, at most four. The human eye can only handle seeing so many little sections, and especially on Internet! When I go to set up a framed page I ask myself a few questions.
1.Is it easy on eye? In other words, am I dizzy looking at it. 2.Does it make sense? Is general layout reasonable. 3.Could effect Iím trying to achieve be accomplished using tables instead?
If answer to first two questions is yes, then go ahead and set it up. However, if there is a shred of doubt, try option Three.
Tables have their own quirks though. The biggest one that Iíve seen is browser compatibility factor. Netscape and IE see tables very differently. Iíve found that to overcome this annoying problem to do a blend of tags that both read.
Basically what tables are is a series of rows and cells that allow one to neatly organize information and images, rather like those shadow boxes that you use to display knick-knacks.
When laying out a page using tables, itís often best to leave border on. This gives you a clear view of what exactly is going on and how it really looks. This includes where text sets in a specific cell of a table. Too many times Iíve gone to a site thatís layed out with tables and found text running into itself or overlapping images! A good rule of thumb when setting text in a table cell is give a cell padding of no less then 5 pixels.