Feeds

IBM boffins unfurl mobile browser reading map

Simple pleasures for small screens

SANS - Survey on application security programs

Mobile web browsing is indisputably a tech on the rise, but cruising the internet while clutching a tiny handheld remains a far more frustrating endeavor than on a traditional PC.

A team of IBM researchers in Japan are tinkering with a technology that could possibly help ease the endless scrolling, pinching, and tapping associated with the mobile web today.

They've created a visual editor that would let webmasters arrange a website's reading flow in an ordered sequence of arrows catering to the small screens of mobile devices. Importantly, this is done without needing to change the existing content for regular browsing.

You can see a demo of the technology here:

It's an interesting concept that could be expanded to improve how mobile devices read current web content rather than cramming everything into a format readable by smaller screens.

The technology also has an immediate application in improving the internet for visually impaired web surfers — which is the reason the IBM team initially developed the editor.

Blind web surfers use software which reads out the contents of web pages at a bewildering speed (to those unused to it), allowing the user to select hyperlinks and navigate sites. Badly-designed sites don't flow properly, which makes it hard to follow. Big sites can afford to optimise their content for the blind, but the new toolkit from IBM allows anyone to create an optimised flow just by dragging arrows to show how the site should be read.

Large bodies of text present no difficulty to reading software, but the more-innovative layouts of today's Web 2.0 menagerie are more of a challenge. IBM's existing Social Accessibility Project allows sighted volunteers to add navigational information to web sites though a handy sidebar. That navigational information is then stored on servers run by the project and loaded by reading software when needed.

IBM's new tools will be shared through that project, and flows created by webmasters for their own pages will be uploaded to the Social Accessibility server for use by blind web surfers, not to mention those who need to use the web without a screen, or those for whom reading is just too twentieth century.

Last week, Microsoft boss Steve Ballmer was called sour grapes when he told the Associated Press: "Let's face it, the Internet was designed for the PC. The Internet is not designed for the iPhone. That's why they've got 75,000 applications — they're trying to make the Internet look decent on the iPhone."

Yes, he's probably bitter. But he makes a honest point. The vast majority of the internet is designed with larger screens in mind. And companies like Google already hopping aboard the popularity of mobile web browsers and allowing placement of larger ads on mobile pages. What's clearly needed now are better ways for small screens to digest the ever-expanding media-rich internet. ®

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
Virgin Media so, so SORRY for turning spam fire-hose on its punters
Hundreds of emails flood inboxes thanks to gaffe
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
AT&T threatens to pull out of FCC wireless auctions over purchase limits
Company wants ability to buy more spectrum space in auction
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?
Facebook splats in-app chat, whacks brats into crack yakety-yak app
Jibber-jabbering addicts turfed out just as Zuck warned
Google looks to LTE and Wi-Fi to help it lube YouTube tubes
Bandwidth hogger needs tube embiggenment if it's to succeed
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
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.
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.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.