Course Description 2010

This is an updated version of the online course that ran sucessfully 3 times in 2009 (itself an update on the one run the previous years). To ensure that you are alerted to all future instances of this course, please subscribe to the mailing list.


Why Should You Attend This Course?

The Introduction to W3C's Mobile Web Best Practices online course will help Web designers and content producers who are already familiar with the desktop world to become familiar with the Web as delivered on mobile devices. It is based entirely on W3C standards, particularly the Mobile Web Best Practices document.

During this course you will:

Full details of the course content are given below and you can get a real taste of what it's like to take the course from our free sample and demo

Who should attend this course?

The course is is for you if:

This course is not for you if you are an experienced mobile Web developer looking for training in advanced techniques such as AJAX or creating widgets.

What Do Other People Say?

The following testimonials were given by previous participants.

"It gives a good overview about the issues related to Mobile Web and by doing the assignments and quizzes, you realize that it's not trivial and requires paying attention to a range of issues. And you learn a lot from the discussion with the fellow students."

"The best starting point possible!"

"…who better to learn it from but the W3C?"

"The course instructor participated with course attendees extremely well giving the feeling that even though there were many attendees that questions could be asked and answered"

"Every web developer should at least know the basics of mobile web development. So this is the course to take."

"I would recommend this course because it allows you to connect with other like-minded people from around the world to learn from tutors who really know their stuff through informative lectures and fun real-life assignments.

What Does the Course Cover Each Week?

The course content is delivered as follows.

Week 0 Getting Ready...

After registereding and before the course begins you will have access to some preliminary materials that set out the challenges and opportunities of the mobile Web. You are strongly encouraged to try browsing on your mobile device and to introduce yourself to everyone in the group.

Week 1 Coding for the Mobile Web: You shall not use …

We begin by providing details of why you should not use certain techniques that may be familiar from the desktop world and how to achieve the same aims using different techniques. The 'do not use techniques' include popups, tables, frames and more.

The assignment at the end of the module asks you to remove all the 'do not use' techniques from a given page. You can see that page now and/or experience it on your mobile by entering this shortened URL:

Week 2 Coding: Use with caution …

After the previous week's 'do not', this week's message is 'you can and probably should, but be careful.' Several techniques can be used to give users an enhanced experience but these do not work on all devices. Therefore when using such techniques you should do so in a way that they fail gracefully and do not prevent access to content and features on devices that don't support the relevant technique.

There is no assignment this week but there is a quiz that will help to reinforce the content of the module.

Week 3 Small is beautiful

This week helps you to understand more about the specific differences between the Web as accessed on desktop and mobile devices. We look at:

Week 3 is about the techniques you need to use to minimize the impact of these limitations. The assignment asks you to put these techniques into practice by editing HTML and CSS.

Weeks 4 & 5 Understanding Basic Design Principles of a Mobile Web Page

These two weeks are at the heart of the course and give you more direct hands-on experience of creating content for mobile. A four-part assignment examines several mobile-specific design issues.

We begin with a page that is designed for a desktop presentation and work towards one that presents the same content but that works well on mobile. As a taster, take a look at the sample page on your desktop. Now look at the same page on your mobile (it's also available at

Week 6 One Web to Rule them All!

The World Wide Web works because content providers and software developers agree on a remarkably small number of simple things. One fundamental property of the Web that is particularly important in this context is the relationship between identifiers and resources. This is what lies behind the 'One Web' philosophy which states that an identifier is associated with a particular resource, such as a Web page.

We explore the theory behind the One Web philosophy and see it working in practice.

The activity for this week involves browsing a few Web sites and noting key features concerning URLs, redirection, and the related issue of Thematic Consistency.

Week 7 Who Are You Talking To?

This (new for 2010) module looks at server side techniques relevant to the Web on mobile including:

The assignment asks you to put these techniques into practice.

Week 8 Learning to use the W3C MobileOK Checker

We round off the course with a detailed look at one of the key tools available to those wishing to provide content through the mobile channel. The mobileOK Checker runs a set of tests derived from the Mobile Web Best Practices document and gives useful feedback to help you improve your coding, so that eventually it conforms to the mobileOK scheme.

After the Course

After the course has run you will continue to have access to all the material for at least 2 months (we expect, but cannot guarantee, that it wil be longer). One of the documents designed to act as a reference guide for future use is one that helps you navigate your way around the different resources that W3C makes available. It not only covers the standards but also the blogs, the mailing lists and the tools that are there to help you create great content for mobile.

How does this work?

The online course is delivered as a series of 8 modules, one per week. Each module presents information as one or more lectures and includes a quiz, an assignment or some other activity. Interaction between participants is strongly encouraged through the discussion forum. The material for the week is made available on each Monday morning (at the latest, often it's the previous Friday afternoon, European time). You should aim to complete the week's work by the following weekend although assignments will be accepted up until the end of the course.

It is anticipated that you will need to spend around 2-3 hours per week on the course. Some weeks are busier than others and may require more time but 2-3 hours should be the average. You can get a good idea of what it's like to take the course by looking at the free sample and demo.

The discussion forum is open at all times and the teachers will usually respond in good time, especially during (European) office hours.

How Do I get a Certificate of Completion?

To receive a certificate of completion, participants must successfully complete:

All course material is presented in English. Assignments must also be submitted in English. Participants may post messages to the discussion forum in any language.

What do I need?

All material is delivered via the Web and so is accessible on any browser. Participants are allocated an account on the training system and this grants access to course materials and the a dedicated discussion forum

Ideally, as well as a desktop or laptop computer, you should have access to:

* If you have a choice of such devices, so much the better. State-of-the-art high-end devices are not the most suitable devices for use during the course as they give a user experience that is often substantially better than many of the mobile devices in use today.

Tell Me When the Course is Running Next

Future courses will be listed in the menu on this page but we also maintain a mailing list to which you are encouraged to subscribe. This list is only used to announce Mobile Web Initiative courses as you can see from the archive.

Last updated: $Date: 2010/09/27 20:39:47 $

Phil Archer,, Mobile Web Initiative

Introduction to W3C's Mobile Web Best Practices