FOWA 07: Daniel Appelquist – The Future of Mobile


Vodaphone is involved in development of open standards, development of GSM and 3G, open standards on the web, developing new open standards for rich media UI on the mobile platform.

Do users want the web on their mobile? Large chunk of people here use the web on the phone every day – even amongst developers, there’s an increase over numbers from a year ago. Rise in number of devices that are web-capable, compared to PCs. Especially true in developing world where there are more mobile phones but there is no landline infrastructure and few PCs. BBC News is getting more hits from Africa via mobile now.

User insight studies in UK. People use mobile web for looking up recipes to researching car purchases, one guy who looks for wrecked Ferraris via the web on his phone as he is driving round. Most used sites on mobile web:

1. Hotmail
2. BBC News
3. Google
4. Holymoly
5. BBC Sport 0fooball
6. Gmail
7. Orange World
… long tail distribution.

There’s a need for best practises for mobile web and good device description/information. Either need a developer toolkit or its open source.

Vodaphone started the Mobile Web Best Practices group, and a Mobile Device Description group which works on device information standards, so that you can use that information as easily as any other standard.

Best practices, published late last year via W3C.

– design for one web, not a mobile web and a fixed web
– rely on web standards
– stay away from known hazards
– be cautious of device limitations, understand the environment that you’re working in, you have limited screen size, memory and bandwidth; features such as cookies won’t always work
– optimise navigation, screen size again an issue
– check graphics and colours
– keep it small, bandwidth issues even with 3G networks, so apps used to making frequent requests is an issue
– use the network sparingly
– help and guide user input
– think of users on the go, if I am a user walking down the street, do I want the same information and the same user experience as if I’m at a PC? No. From an information architecture and usability perspective, you want to rethink how you interact with the user when they are mobile.

Key is thematic consistency: ensure that content provided by accessing a URI yields a thematically coherent experience when accessed from different devices. So if reading an article on a PC, should be able to read the same thing on a mobile device, just presented appropriately.

– valid markup
– stye sheet use
– cookies – do not rely on them
– objects and scripts – may not work
.Mobi is a join venture between Nokia, Microsoft and Vodaphone. Top level domain for websites designed for mobiles. Put work into standards, lots of development resources.

Mobile 2.0
Do we have 20-itis? Do we need ‘mobile web 2.0’? We do need to put a stake in the ground to say we are moving to an internet model. Transition from mobile applications to an internet model, less controlled, less like cable TV. Mobile web opening up, and becoming a platform for innovation.

– Mobile web and connected applications.
– User choice
– Using open standards
– More interactive mobile applications running in the browser

Creating scalable (to cope with different screen sizes) applications within the browser for rich applications, such as video and football scores and information. Mobile Ajax. SVG-based.

Soonr, Windows mobile running Opera Mobile, Soonr, uses very web-like UI, with progress bar, highlight bar, etc. Not used to that within the browser context. Slideshow. Can access data from web via PC.

WICD: SVG, xHTML, CSS, DOM. User agent behaviour. Baseline for rich media Web Application development on the mobile platform.

Upcoming standards and projects
– Web API Working Group
– Web Applications Formats Working Group: Mobile widgets, good fit because very focused information. Los of widget toolkits and frameworks, but all fairly similar.
– Mobile AJAX Workshop: W3C and Open Ajax Alliance

Technorati Tags: ,