In January I blogged about Headlights 2013, part of our annual exercise to identify major new strategic directions for W3C. The timetable for the 10 task forces included several months of project development, presentations during the June Membership meeting in Tokyo, and review by the W3C management team in July. Below I summarize the outcomes from 8 of the 10 task forces; the other two task forces (on chair training, stewardship) have not yet led to formal proposals.
The purpose of the Payments Task Force was to explore the motivation and potential for open standards for Web payments. After looking at current payment solutions and talking to stakeholders, we arrived at the following conclusions: W3C should organize a Workshop to consider what would be involved in creating open standards for Web payments. The Workshop emphasis would be to establish a level playing field for payment solution providers, with the aim of reducing the effort needed by developers, and encouraging greater use of payment based business models for HTML5 applications. Payment solutions could be device-resident and take advantage of secure elements, or they could be cloud-based. A major consideration is synchronization across devices giving users the effect of a single wallet exposed on all of their personal devices. Approaches would build upon standardization activities of a wide range of W3C Working Groups, e.g. web, cryptography, system applications, secure elements, and NFC.
We must ensure that the Open Web Platform meets performance expectations as it expands to provide richer services on a greater variety of devices. This task force studied some of the issues developers have encountered as the Open Web Platform matures. Assuming sufficient resources, W3C management approved a proposal that outlines three dimensions to help improve the performance of Web applications: enhance Web browsers, develop more tools, and educate developers. These will be achieved through the development of high level use cases, W3C Workshops to continue to gather community feedback on performance, and performance guidelines for developers.
Closing the Gap with Native
On mobile devices, developers face a perennial dilemma: should they choose to develop native applications or Web applications? W3C believes the Web should to be the best choice on mobile as it has been for the past several years on desktop computers. This task force looked at the reasons why the Web has not reached the same popularity on mobile. We identified several technical gaps around effective offline support and optimized network access, as well as some structural limitations to our work. We now have a plan to fix those, which Dominique Hazael-Massieux will be putting in place, informed by the work of the newly launched Web and Mobile Interest Group.
Community Group to Working Group Transitions
The CG/BG transitions Task force surveyed the more than 130 Community Groups and Business Groups that the community has started at W3C. Our aim was to determine which were ready to advance work to a W3C Working Group. Based on a survey and analysis, the primary output of the task force was a recommendation to the W3C management of twenty or so group deliverables that are best candidates for advancing work to the Recommendation Track, within the next six months and beyond. The task force, taking into account feedback from the June Membership Meeting, further recommended ways for CGs to perform better, including development of discovery and tracking tools, and completing the known user experience and infrastructure improvement proposals. W3C management approved the projects with the caveat that resource estimates were preliminary. W3M also supported the recommendation to conduct this type of analysis annually.
Web and W3C Anniversaries
Momentum is building to celebrate two special occasions in 2014: the Web’s 25th anniversary and W3C’s 20th anniversary. W3C, its Members and Offices, the Web Foundation, and others now are collaborating on a plan that will launch and stretch anniversary celebrations throughout next year. Activities will be local, regional and global, both online and physical. Everyone will be encouraged to participate in our activities and create their own for these significant milestones. Anniversary logos and an anniversaries celebration Web page will be available soon to help coordinate events and spread enthusiasm. We look forward to celebrating together how far we’ve come as a community, and to imagine and fulfill the Web’s greater promise.
The Branding Task Force concluded this spring its qualitative and quantitative brand market research. The good news is that W3C enjoys relatively strong brand awareness with technology-oriented people around the world. On the other hand, data from some groups revealed a misunderstanding between W3C’s brand strategy and its business strategy. From now through Q3 of 2013, the task force expects to identify and work with an independent brand agency to help refine and strengthen W3C’s brand promise, positioning and architecture. Then, the W3C Marketing and Communications team will work to improve the organization’s brand identity and develop key messages for target markets. The goal is launch a more cohesive and powerful W3C brand image and communications as part of the 2014 anniversaries, and for the redesigned Web site to leverage the new brand.
Data/Group Analytics and Dashboards
The goal of this task force was to begin to identify and provide data about W3C activities (in the broad sense of data about all that we do) to different audiences who have indicated they would value the data. The task force interviewed a number of people with different roles in the broader W3C community to understand their data use cases, looking for commonalities and patterns in their disseminate needs. In July 2013 W3C Management approved this project to move forward, including further elaborating data requirements. This project will also inform the site redesign project.
W3C Site Redesign
The Site Redesign Task Force conducted research from March through June to establish key audiences and constituencies, collect usage patterns and feedback, craft an initial vision for a redesigned site, and write a proposal. The proposal outlines a project that would culminate in a site launch at the end of 2014. This project was approved by W3C management, noting that there would be opportunities for Sponsors to help deliver the resources necessary for the anticipated scope. We expect the project to leverage the outcomes of the Brand Task Force and the and Dashboards Task Force.