ISSUE-277: 3.3.1 Inform user about automatic network access and provide control


3.3.1 Inform user about automatic network access and provide control

Mobile Web Applications Best Practices
Raised by:
Adam Connors
Opened on:
Bryan's comments:

Under "3.3.1 Inform the User About Automatic Use of Networks"

The earlier version (20080521) had guidance on network usage aspects that the user should be informed of:

"Applications should disclose, in a clear and useful way, the basic nature of their automatic use of the Internet for data exchange, e.g.:

- how often the application will interact via the Internet, e.g. every 5 minutes, hourly, daily

- how long the automatic behavior will continue

- how heavy the overall data usage is expected to be, or type of service plan recommended (e.g. 10 MB/month, or unlimited usage plan) "

While the new text in the current draft is also useful, I believe developers need more specific guidance on *what* should be disclosed, not just be told to disclose "the basic nature of their use of the network." That statement alone is too vague.

Adam Comments:

->-> In (20080521) it wasn't clear how/when this information was to be disclosed. It would be a poor (and unprecedented) user experience for a web-application to raise a dialogue box at start-up to impart this information.

->-> This is a good one for us to discuss and make a good recommendation on. We all agree on the gist of the BP -- that applications shouldn't make *secret* data requests... But the value of the BP is in the compromise between detail and usability.

->-> I am concerned that "clear and useful way" in the previous version was too vague, and the enumerated examples too detailed. The pressure of a "Best-Practice" might make an unexperienced engineer feel compelled to communicate all this information which would not lead to a good application.

->-> This level of information *could* be detailed on a help page or on terms and services, in which case we should make a clear recommendation on this. Though we should find concrete examples to motivate this which I don't know of -- e.g. lets investigate BJive and similar applications.

->-> Based on experience of other applications, background data activity is usually imparted in the form of a spinner somewhere in the UI, which would form the basis for a good recommendation in my opinion.
Related Actions Items:
No related actions
Related emails:
  1. MWABP: Inform user about automatic use of network and provide control (from on 2010-06-28)
  2. [minutes] BPWG Teleconference 2008-10-09 (from on 2008-10-09)
  3. [Minutes] Minutes from the MWABP Editorial Meeting 2008-09-26 (from on 2008-09-26)
  4. ISSUE-277 (adam): 3.3.1 Inform user about automatic network access and provide control [Mobile Web Applications Best Practices] (from on 2008-09-18)

Related notes:

[jo]: Adam is going to elaborate with a discussion of what network access parameters should be disclosed and is going to elaborate on the provide control aspect as a separate BP

26 Sep 2008, 14:27:13

section reformatted, bullet lists added

François Daoust, 9 Oct 2008, 14:39:02

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Jo Rabin <>, Daniel Appelquist <>, Chairs, Dominique Hazaël-Massieux <>, François Daoust <>, Staff Contacts
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