James over at JKontherun has the news about the launch of mobile Web standards by the W3C. James notes, “The new standards look to not only create enjoyable mobile browsing experiences but also to insure that folks with disabilities can benefit from the mobile web.” Check out our mobile and handheld usability article. Here’s the release:
W3C Standards Make Mobile Web Experience More Inviting
New Work Started on Mobile Web Application Guidelines
29 July 2008 — W3C today announced new standards that will make it easier for people to browse the Web on mobile devices. Mobile Web Best Practices 1.0, published as a W3C Recommendation, condenses the experience of many mobile Web stakeholders into practical advice on creating mobile-friendly content.
"Mobile Web content developers now have stable guidelines and maturing tools to help them create a better mobile Web experience," said Dominique Hazaël-Massieux, W3C Mobile Web Activity Lead. "In support of the W3C mission of building One Web, we want to support the developer community by providing tools to enable a great mobile Web user experience."
Mobile Web Design Guidelines Address Challenges on the Go
People who want to use the Web while "on the go" face several challenges, including hardware and software diversity, device constraints, and bandwidth limitations. Mobile Web Best Practices 1.0 helps content authors face those challenges and develop content that works on a wide array of mobile devices. Authors and other content producers will find practical advice for managing user experience challenges such as data input and page scrolling.
Until today, content developers faced an additional challenge: a variety of mobile markup languages to choose from. With the publication of the XHTML Basic 1.1 Recommendation today, the preferred format specification of the Best Practices, there is now a full convergence in mobile markup languages, including those developed by the Open Mobile Alliance (OMA).
Next Steps: Mobile Web Application Guidelines
According to Juniper Research, "the global market for Mobile Web 2.0 will be worth $22.4 billion in 2013, up from $5.5 billion currently." Keeping pace with this
trend, the Mobile Web Best Practices (MWBP) Working Group published today the first draft of the next generation of guidelines, Mobile Web Application Best Practices, aimed at mobile Web applications. While the "original" best practices document focused on traditional Web
browsing, the new guidelines will focus on the use of Web applications and widgets for user interaction opportunities on mobile devices. For example, mobile content providers might use Web applications together with geolocation information to provide users with richer location-based services and interfaces.
W3C is also developing resources to help authors understand how to create content that is both mobile-friendly and accessible to people with disabilities. A draft of Relationship between Mobile Web Best Practices (MWBP) and Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) is jointly published by the The Mobile Web Best Practices Working Group and WAI’s Education & Outreach Working Group (EOWG).
The MWBP Working Group participants, including key leaders from the mobile industry and representatives of the Mobile Web Initiative (MWI) sponsors, are declaring their support for today’s set of published mobile Web technologies.
About the World Wide Web Consortium [W3C]
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an international consortium where Member organizations, a full-time staff, and the public work together to develop Web standards. W3C primarily pursues its mission through the creation of Web standards and guidelines designed to ensure long-term growth for the Web. Over 400 organizations are Members of the Consortium. W3C is jointly run by the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (MIT CSAIL) in the USA, the European Research Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics (ERCIM) headquartered in France and Keio University in Japan, and has additional Offices worldwide. For more information see http://www.w3.org