MWI Team Blog

Dispatches from members of the W3C Mobile Web Initiative Team

Categories: Current state (32) | Developing Countries (15) | Events (20) | Looking forward (13) | News (42) | Technical (33) |

So Simple, Even a CEO Can Do It — 12 January 2008

... mobile Web programming, that is. Point your mobile browser at http://jampaw.com/; a little mobile directory developed during my weekend time ...
JamPaw Mobile Directory home page (Jan 2008)
OK -- this is not the most sophisticated mobile Web site on planet Earth. But it is an easy and quick directory to other Web sites which are useful to me and which work relatively well on my relatively simple T-Mobile SDA. I've been using and adding to JamPaw since 2006. Friends said I should share it; partly as an example of the ease of mobile Web development, and partly because people might find the site, or its style, of use. My SDA, while not the simplest of phones, presents many of the challenges of the vast majority of third screen machines: Small display. 4-way rocker switch. 12-key keyboard. Not-so-fast GPRS data service. My browsers (MS IE and Opera Mini) are more complete than those delivered with most mobiles. So, why bother to build what at this point is little more than an organized suite of mobile bookmarks? First, I wanted to better understand the motivations and technologies of W3C's Mobile Web Initiative. More practically, mainstream mobile search sites are not yet easy or fast enough for my phone and patience:
  • Form filling, including entry of keywords, requires too many keystrokes, especially on keypads like mine.
  • Search results are long, and presented on multiple, slow-loading pages that are often not mobile-friendly
  • Pages are often too complex, difficult to see, cumbersome to interact with (especially while on the move), and require moving the cursor across the page and scrolling vertically and horizontally
The key JamPaw metrics are: Fewest keystrokes and shortest wait to get to the most useful Web sites. It favors single clicks to fast-loading pages, versus input of search strings resulting in pages with lots of content and scrolling. It is best for reaching sites that you know you want, versus looking for information from amongst the all of the world's sites. jampaw.com is almost W3C mobileOK (see what the new alpha version of the W3C mobileOK Checker says). Most of sites in the directory fare less well, though they work acceptably on my phone. It is surprising how easily some of the very high profile sites could be made more mobile friendly. Mobile-friendliness is the eyes of the beholder -- but mobileOKness is in the eyes of our checker :). With more time, and with talent exceeding my own level of anglebracketology, one could improve the site by implementing:
  • Location-based emphasis (input city, postal code, etc., then bias director and queries toward this area)
  • Listings of directories and search results driven by a Web-site ranking scheme that, in addition to location, combines measures of mobile-OK-ness, with measures of mobile-usefulness (popularity, user-suggestions, linked-to, etc.), and that can be tuned by users.
  • Ability for users to easily customize their top-level myJamPaw pages (see mine) so they can “speed surf” (using access keys) to the categories and Web sites of greatest importance to them.
  • Semantic Web technologies to manage content and user-specific data in a flexible and extensible manner.
  • Tools to enable a global community to work together to bring the mobile Web to people in the developing world.
  • If this were a commercial site (example), a mobile advertising scheme that makes it easy for users to specify how and when they connect with mobile advertisers, thus increasing satisfaction on both sides.
Feel free to send comments and to recommend Web sites. Let me know what to do to make the site work better on various types of phones. Perhaps someone out there is interested in helping to improve JamPaw. I don't have lots of time, but will try to consider your input during weekend time. Steve Bratt W3C Chief Executive Officer, and amateur mobile Web developer
by Steve Bratt in Permalink

Comments, Pingbacks:

No Comments/Pingbacks for this post yet...

Contacts: Dominique Hazael-Massieux