W3C sets best practices for mobile Web design

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), backed by a group of online leaders, released a document on Tuesday describing best practices for developing Web pages that can be displayed properly on small, mobile devices.

Companies including Nokia Corp., Google Inc., Microsoft Corp., AT&T Inc., Vodafone Group PLC and France Telecom SA helped create the document which is now available for developers to test out and offer feedback.

The recommendations range from simple to more complex. For example, designers are advised to place navigation links primarily at the top of the page and to place each navigation link on a single line. But recommendations also include more sophisticated information such as advice on how to use caching mechanisms to improve the experience for end users. The document also specifies that the idea is to create a single Web, not a separate one designed specifically for mobile devices.

That’s an important point in a mobile Internet industry that some say has been hampered by the existence of essentially a separate Web designed for mobile devices.

“WAP and the Web are two very different things,” said Eskil Sivertsen, a spokesman for Opera Software ASA, one of the companies involved in the development of the recommendations. “With WAP you get limited content with a different URL.”

WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) is a technology that was developed to enable mobile users to access online content but it requires developers to create new Web sites specifically for mobile users using a special language. While WAP helped jump start the mobile Internet, more recently, the industry has begun moving toward a model that would make it easier for developers to create just one Web site that could be adequately viewed on a large monitor and a small cell phone.

Sivertsen said that the W3C effort should be more effective than historical efforts to unify the mobile Internet experience because it’s not a proprietary effort made by a commercial company. Instead, the initiative was developed by 30 companies across the industry and is backed by the international Web standardization group.

It’s the first set of recommendations and more advanced details will follow, he said. “It’s a nice beginning to prepare for a Web that is more mobile friendly,” he said.

Would you recommend this article?


Thanks for taking the time to let us know what you think of this article!
We'd love to hear your opinion about this or any other story you read in our publication.

Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

Featured Download

Featured Articles

Empowering the hybrid workforce: how technology can build a better employee experience

Across the country, employees from organizations of all sizes expect flexibility...

What’s behind the best customer experience: How to make it real for your business

The best customer experience – the kind that builds businesses and...

Overcoming the obstacles to optimized operations

Network-driven optimization is a top priority for many Canadian business leaders...

Thriving amid Canada’s tech talent shortage

With today’s tight labour market, rising customer demands, fast-evolving cyber threats...

Staying protected and compliant in an evolving IT landscape

Canadian businesses have changed remarkably and quickly over the last few...

Related Tech News

Tech Jobs

Our experienced team of journalists and bloggers bring you engaging in-depth interviews, videos and content targeted to IT professionals and line-of-business executives.

Tech Companies Hiring Right Now