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Wireless firms agree on rules for mobile Web sites

   
1:51 pm on Jun 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator engine is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



Some of the world's top wireless and Internet companies, including Nokia, Vodafone Group Plc and Google Inc., have agreed on a set of Web site development guidelines aimed at making it easier to surf the Internet on cell phones.

The majority of cell phones today have Web browsers as wireless providers hope to expand beyond voice services, but only about 19 percent of U.S. mobile phone users regularly use the Web on their phones, according to researcher M:Metrics Inc.

The Worldwide Web Consortium (W3C), a group backed by 30 industry players, hopes to improve on this percentage by creating 60 guidelines for developers to design sites that are easy to use on cell phones, which have much smaller screens and tiny keypads.

Wireless firms agree on rules for mobile Web sites [today.reuters.co.uk]

2:00 pm on Jun 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member pageoneresults is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



I'm looking forward to seeing those guidelines. I'm interested in knowing how many changes need to take place to make existing sites CPF (Cell Phone Friendly).

The Worldwide Web Consortium (W3C), a group backed by 30 industry players, hopes to improve on this percentage by creating 60 guidelines for developers to design sites that are easy to use on cell phones, which have much smaller screens and tiny keypads.

I'm also happy to see that the W3C will be the ones developing those guidelines.

2:11 pm on Jun 27, 2006 (gmt 0)



only about 19 percent of U.S. mobile phone users regularly use the Web on their phones

I'd guess the number is grossly overestimated, based on:
1) logs from sites I monitor
2) the fact that none of the people I know use web on their cellphones
3) my phone occasionally gets on the web because I accidentally press a button while I forget to lock it
- which makes it IMHO

2:15 pm on Jun 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

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only about 19 percent of U.S. mobile phone users regularly use the Web on their phones

> I'd guess the number is grossly overestimated

I'd agree. 0.19 percent sounds more likely.

2:22 pm on Jun 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member pageoneresults is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



Only about 19 percent of U.S. mobile phone users regularly use the Web on their phones.

I think we would need to determine exactly what that 19 percent is using the web for. Checking email? Stocks? Sports scores? What are they doing while online? Surely they're not just browsing their favorite shopping site looking for something to wear this weekend. Or are they? ;)

3:22 pm on Jun 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Here's the documentation:

Mobile Web Best Practices 1.0 [w3.org]

zzzzzz!

3:33 pm on Jun 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member pageoneresults is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



The Default Delivery Context is defined as follows:

Usable Screen Width - 120 Pixels, minimum.

Markup Language Support - XHTML - Basic Profile [XHTML-Basic].

Character Encoding - UTF-8 [UTF-8]

Image Format Support - JPEG

GIF 89a (non-interlaced, non-transparent, non-animated).

Maximum Total Page Weight - 20 kilobytes.

Colors - Web safe.

(A Web safe color is one that has Red/Green/Blue components chosen only from the values 0, 51, 102, 153, 204, and 255.)

Style Sheet Support - External CSS Level 1 [CSS].

HTTP - HTTP/1.0 [HTTP1.0] or more recent [HTTP1.1].

Looks like separate stylesheets for mobile users is going to be the way forward. And, back to the Web safe color palette. ;)

3:52 pm on Jun 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

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So 120 Pixels is the recommended minimum screen width. Is there a maximum recommended width? I haven't done much mobile dev but am planning to.
3:58 pm on Jun 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I wonder how often the 19 percent who do surf using mobile phones visit sites they've never seen before. My guess is a large portion of that 19 percent stick to the google, WSJ, nytimes etc., leaving only a very small chunk to the small and mid-size guys.

[edited by: rohitj at 3:58 pm (utc) on June 27, 2006]

3:58 pm on Jun 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jimbeetle is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



Well, this comes along at a really good time for me. I'm about to redesign a fairly large site and wanted to at least give a nod to handhelds. Overall the recommendation is very general of course, but it's good to have some direction.

I think we would need to determine exactly what that 19 percent is using the web for. Checking email? Stocks? Sports scores? What are they doing while online? Surely they're not just browsing their favorite shopping site looking for something to wear this weekend. Or are they?

I know some savvy mobile webmasters who can do just about anything they want on the 'Net with a handheld, but as for the general population it's a mystery to me. The very few handheld requests I can track back make it appear that people are searching for very specific pieces of information, though that might change as these devices get more powerful -- and hopefully easier to use.

3:59 pm on Jun 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member pageoneresults is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



In the Default Delivery Context assume a width of 120 pixels.

It's a whole different ballgame designing for mobile devices. There really is no maximum width as it is going to vary according to the device. The Default Delivery Context assumes a default width of 120 pixels. From what I've read so far, you can implement various checks to determine various things about the device accessing the page.

Content Adaptation
[w3.org...]

4:04 pm on Jun 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jimbeetle is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



Is there a maximum recommended width?

From what I see, once you get down below a 640 width the screen rez is all over the place, though I find bunches at 240 and 320 width. I'm planning on serving a simple 100% width and let the browser handle it.

4:06 pm on Jun 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Ok, one more question. Sorry, I'm a mobile NEWBIE.

Markup Language Support - XHTML - Basic Profile [XHTML-Basic]

Does this mean WML is out and we should be focused on delivering our wireless content with XHTML?

4:13 pm on Jun 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member pageoneresults is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



Though that might change as these devices get more powerful -- and hopefully easier to use.

I don't know about you, but I find using a mobile device very inconvenient and time consuming. Personally I would not be surfing the net with my cell phone, that's for sure! And I sure wouldn't be going through any checkout steps.

I'm from the QWERTY keyboard group. I've not yet been able to adjust my fingers to do "hunt and peck" or thumb/index finger routines. It just doesn't work for me. And, I'm so used to blazing along at 80-100 words per minute that a mobile device micro keyboard is out of the question. Too frustrating for me. ;)

But, that's not going to stop me from designing for this user base. ;)

4:23 pm on Jun 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jimbeetle is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



He, he, he. Yeah, I was doing some testing with a Blackberry yesterday and it was a more than frustrating experience. How the heck can I be expected to remember to hold down the shift key to type a danged period?
4:25 pm on Jun 27, 2006 (gmt 0)



I don't know about you, but I find using a mobile device very inconvenient and time consuming.

You need one of these then! (XDA Exec) :) 3G/Wifi/GPRS/Bluetooth/USB connectivity AND a Querty Keyboard. I am looking at WebmasterWorld through windows mobile 5 and it's WAY more than 120 pixels wide...

Heck - when I am in the States I switch it to SKYPE to save on phone bills!

4:31 pm on Jun 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



I'm interested in knowing how many changes need to take place to make existing sites CPF (Cell Phone Friendly).

Ooooh! Methinks that someone is trying to to be the one that starts the branding of this Mr Pageone. Afraid that here in the UK (yes, we do count) don't use the term "cell phone" so the acronym you've given is US specific only. I think shorthand should be SMID - Supports Mobile Internet Devices or just MID friendly. Do you think that would catch on?

Out of interest, who came up with SERP and MFA?

 

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