Position paper for Mobile Phone Wizards AS
by Chris Abbott and Njal Hansen Wilberg
Mobile Device Independence is a discipline which ought to be an integral part of any website’s accessibility strategy: however, the barriers to a given website properly analysing the device visiting it are legion.
Mobile Phone Wizards AS has produced a system called “Mobile Phone Wizard”, which is a distributed web service offering a variety of services including a device repository, a real-time header analyser, customer geolocation and browser customisation analysis, real-time UAProfile retrieval, import and analysis, and extensive intelligent cacheing mechanisms to ensure acceptable real-time speed. The system underpins our “UAProfile.com” site, which provides UAProfiles to the public and provides a useful search engine and content field tabulator. The UAProfile module is only one module of the Wizard system. Wizard is live on some high traffic websites, and as a result updates itself in real-time as new models and firmware versions are seen.
Part of the rationale behind offering the UAProfile.com system was our core belief that the importance of a sensible device adaptation and content delivery strategy should be impressed upon all websites, and that the barriers to making the web fully accessible for all browsers should be set as low as possible, both financially and practically. We also believe that most small to medium web sites would like a toolkit and service approach that complements the workflow and impacts minimally on time to market.
Having seen the problems with the practical implementation of the UAProfile standard, and having seen the limitations of a purely static database approach, we feel that we can offer an insight into running a device description repository in real-life, the problems of acquiring and normalising the data, the difficulty of dealing with modified devices and inaccurate manufacturer data, and the cost, manpower implications and workflow of getting human error-correction and data entry involved in the process, and the challenges in making such a system modular, accessible from all platforms, and scalable across DDR nodes.