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Thursday, December 01, 2005

Squishing The Internet Into A Handheld

Look at the contrast - Mobile Phone growth has been the fastest ever seen in recetn times, while mobile internet has not kept pace.One of the reasons behind the poor adoption of mobile internet besides bandwidth is the unfrendliness of the browsing experience.Mobile Web Initiative, a group of 19 mobile phone-related companies has been created, to hash out how to make the mobile Net a well-oiled machine. One of their goals is to come up with a list of "best practices" for all the companies in the mobile Internet food chain to follow. They have put together a list of best practices – a really nice collection – Some of the recommended best practices:

- For mobile browsing - Do not use large graphics. Do not use background images. Do use short titles. Do not use frames or tables.

- The software translating the page should do everything it can to find out what the device receiving it is - how many colors the screen can show, whether the display is square or rectangular, what browser software the device is using. If the software can't figure it out, a "reasonable default experience" should result, and a warning to the user provided.

- Provide informative error messages. The error message should also explain whether the problem is temporary or permanent, and there should be options for "back," "retry" and "home."

- Keep the Internet addresses short, especially for the main entry sites.

- Assign a keyboard shortcut to a hyperlink; this makes navigation a bit easier when there is no pointing device. But also keep the number of keystrokes to a minimum.

- No pop-ups, no pages that automatically refresh themselves, and do not "redirect" from one site to another. Any and all of these will cause confusion, add cost or result in slowness.

- Content should be limited to what the user has requested. Users in a mobile context are often looking for specific pieces of information, rather than browsing and a few more.

The common sense behind these "best practices," which are still in draft form, is in fact a model for how personal computers should - but don't always - behave while on the Web. If the guidelines are followed, the mobile phone universe could be like a well-rounded, mature Version 3.0 or 4.0 of the Internet that began on the PC and shall give a larger impetus to the growth of the mobile phenomenon..

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Sadagopan's Weblog on Emerging Technologies, Trends,Thoughts, Ideas & Cyberworld
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