Feeds

W3C guidelines inadequate

Won't transform mobile web business

High performance access to file storage

Comment So many of the most disruptive business models based on wireless networks depend on heavy use of the mobile web, that it is easy to forget what an unsatisfactory experience this remains.

The new approaches that could shake up the telecoms landscape - epitomised by the advertising-supported free access services favoured by Google – depend on a more usable and appealing mobile web experience, if they are not to remain confined to the laptop platform.

A group of about 30 companies within the W3C (Worldwide Web Consortium) standards body has now come up with a common set of guidelines for website developers – Mobile Web Best Practises 1.0 - aimed at making it easier to surf the internet from mobile devices.

The group contains many of the companies that are most dependent on this aim becoming a reality, including Google itself, Nokia, AOL and Microsoft.

However, though valuable for bringing a broader measure of consensus into this fragmented world, the guidelines do not go far enough to make the mobile web a serious platform for generating revenues. In fact, given the wealth of creativity that has gone into the evolution of the full sized web experience, some of the recommendations are laughably simple – betraying the serious lack of understanding of this issue from which most mobile carriers and suppliers suffer.

Avoiding large pop-up ads and page scrolling hardly transforms the mobile web into a next generation platform, and the document avoids most of the issues that will be essential to make internet surfing usable on cellphones, and indeed differentiate the mobile from the PC experience – tight integration with SMS and other messaging, for instance.

However, the set of 60 recommendations do at least show a new awareness of the need to help websites work better on small screens, a change that would drive more mobile traffic to sites, and generate more data revenue for service providers – although, despite the presence of Vodafone and other cellcos in the group, easier mobile web access will be a double edged sword once they are forced to adopt flat rate data pricing.

At this point, the less unfettered surfing going on, the more profitable cellcos can be. Website and content management system designers are now invited to test the guidelines and feedback to a collaborative online "wiki" document.

Last month the sale of the .mobi top level domain name began, also designed to stimulate usage of the mobile web.

Copyright © 2006, Wireless Watch

Wireless Watch is published by Rethink Research, a London-based IT publishing and consulting firm. This weekly newsletter delivers in-depth analysis and market research of mobile and wireless for business. Subscription details are here.

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
A black box for your SUITCASE: Now your lost luggage can phone home – quite literally
Breakfast in London, lunch in NYC, and your clothes in Peru
Broadband Secretary of SHEEP sensationally quits Cabinet
Maria Miller finally resigns over expenses row
Skype pimps pro-level broadcast service
Playing Cat and Mouse with the media
Beat it, freetards! Dyn to shut down no-cost dynamic DNS next month
... but don't worry, charter members, you're still in 'for life'
Like Google, Comcast might roll its own mobile voice network
Says anything's possible if regulators approve merger with Time Warner
EE dismisses DATA-BURNING glitch with Orange Mail app
Bug quietly slurps PAYG credit - yet EE denies it exists
Turnbull leaves Australia's broadband blackspots in the dark
New Statement of Expectations to NBN Co offers get-out clauses for blackspot builds
Facebook claims 100 MEEELLION active users in India
Who needs China when you've got the next billion in your sights?
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.