W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-bpwg@w3.org > July 2005

RE: Best Practices : Some Background

From: marcus saw <saw_marcus@yahoo.com>
Date: Mon, 25 Jul 2005 12:18:07 +0100 (BST)
Message-ID: <20050725111808.83648.qmail@web30706.mail.mud.yahoo.com>
To: public-bpwg@w3.org
Hi Kevin,
I am inclined to agree with your point of view, I do not feel that 'systems' in general should alter content based on rules - it should be down to the creator of the content to display what he or she wants to show.  When I was talking about a 'pared down' version of the website for mobile phones, I was coming from the point of view of actually making two seperate sites, one for the "real" internet and one specifically designed for mobile usage.
You are quite right about the email and links and I am sure that there are probably many more examples of applications that would be ruined if shortened arbitrarily by a browser or conversion algorythym.
Speaking from experience it seems that most providers in Japan do in fact create completely seperate content for mobile usage - in this case I am specifically refering to mobile phone handsets - and the reason why they do this is because they then get complete control over the users' experience.  It seems to be working but it is damn cumbersome having to maintain up to four other versions of the same site ( for each markup language in use ).
I have been pointed in the direction of a project called 'DISelect' by a very helpful email from Stephane Boyera and am interested in learning more about this, I think there is scope to do a lot of good now that mobile content is starting to peek into the mainstream.

"Holley Kevin (Centre)" <Kevin.Holley@O2.com> wrote:
Dear Marcus and all,
I am not sure that "pared down" content is appropriate to mobile devices.  As a frequent user of mobile email I do not want to see a shortened version of my PC based email on my mobile device.  And if someone sends me a URL in an email I want to read the full text, not an abbreviated version.  Yes there are many circumstances where it is appropriate to cut down, and yes graphics are difficult on a mobile.  However developers should not attempt to second-guess use cases and we should try to make the technology deliver what the user wants and be flexible, rather than a "most people use x" approach which does not apply to all users and all cases and anyway the usage patterns are very likely to change over time.
-----Original Message-----
From: public-bpwg-request@w3.org [mailto:public-bpwg-request@w3.org] On Behalf Of marcus saw
Sent: 23 July 2005 06:59
To: public-bpwg@w3.org
Subject: RE: Best Practices : Some Background

I am new to this mailing list so if I repeat anything that has already been said please forgive me.  
I have been quite interested by the whole discussion of mobile content creation as I currently work for a company in Japan that builds systems for mobile sites.  
What I have found during my time in Japan, which I admit does have slightly differing phone usage culture patterns to the west, is that there is a distinct difference between the way mobile content and PC based content are used.  This is something important to consider because, as you are aware Japan is a market leader in terms of number of accesses to content-based services on the mobile phone ( thanks to DoCoMo's i-mode ) and so might be taken as indicative as to how the market will progress in the west.
When delivering to the mobile phone content has to be trimmed down not only in terms of images and other decorative paraphernalia but also in terms of the length and depth of sentences used to convey its messages.  Mobile sites are used, in the whole, for short term, quick-fix surfing whilst on the go, the other main usages are for downloading multimedia content to the phone ( mp3, ring tones and wallpapers ) and access to 'utility sites' such as timetables and directory services. Again the length and depth of these types of content has to be cut down from the normal output to a browser for the site to be a success on the mobile phone. 
This is due to the natural, physical limitation imposed by the size of the screen, the keypad and the by the mobile, 'access from anywhere, anytime' usage philosophy of phone browsing - you do not want to be wading through reams of text when you are only on-line for two minutes whilst waiting for a train.
Other considerations such as image sizes, and by this I mean file size in KB, and pixel resolution of images have to be considered as well.  It is no good providing the same rich content that you would display on your website for the current generation of phones available.  Images still take time to download, time which mobile users are not prepared to wait for, and large, high resolution graphics, especially when containing text, become hard to read when rendered on the small screen.
My point is this: whilst there is a great case for need of a standard in the markup languages that are used on the Internet and the mobile Internet ( and this is something that the Japanese would be good to take note of with 4 separate versions of markup currently in use: J-HTML, XHTML, CHTML5, HDML3 ), there is a definite need for separate content for both mediums.
The market for mobile content is highly likely to increase phenomenally in the west in the coming three years and so these considerations will become highly relevant to any one wanting to create good content.  
Thanks for reading this far, and if I may be so bold I would like to ask a general question. 
Can this two-site philosophy be aided in anyway by markup standards? For instance can there be a 'content for PC' tag in a page with an 'ALT' tag, similar to images now, which gives the alternative, Mobile content? Also, how much strength does the w3c have to suggest changes in markup standards with the networks like DoCoMo and Vodafone?
I would be very happy to hear your opinions to what I have written.
Marcus Saw

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Received on Monday, 25 July 2005 11:18:16 UTC

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