Position Paper on W3C/WAP Workshop on the Multimodal Web

Casper Harnung
W3C Advisory Committee Representative for ZoomON AB

1. Introduction

We strongly support this initiative. There is a clear need for converging web and wireless technologies and standards. ZoomON wants to actively participate in forming the standards for interactive graphics in next generation wireless devices.

2. Position

At present WAP supports raster graphics in the form of wbmp, but includes no formal definition of vector graphical elements. Advanced wireless services such as location services, requires wireless devices to manipulate advanced graphical content in the form of scalable vector graphics. A rich and verbose vector graphical definition like the W3C SVG proposal is well suited for a wired world with large bandwidth and processing power on the client devices, but is probably not well implemented in a wireless environment because of inherent resource constraints of bandwidth, processor capacity and memory of client devices. The user experience must be perceived as fast for a standard to be accepted.

Our interest is in creating a lightweight streamable 2D vector graphic representation for wireless devices. The representation must as a minimum be able to tag graphical objects, so that objects can be associated with commands, activated through mechanisms of engagement with the graphics. This graphical representation can be thought of as a client side "intelligent display list", the front-end representation of a more complex format structure such as SVG.

We fell that such an approach could lead to the use of vector graphics as a the modelling tool for user interfaces as well, thus merging the "display list" of the application with the "display list" of the user interface itself. The user experience in wireless is predicted to be much more custom tailored experience that the wired world, why such an approach makes sense. The personal service oriented nature of wireless applications, the need for operators to distinguish themselves, as well as lack of screen real estate promotes this.

The idea of a standardized lightweight functionally scalable 2D graphic representation could have extreme positive impact on applications, application developers and end-users on wireless devices.