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

some thoughts on current state of bp draft

From: Tom Thurston <tom@turnontechnology.com>
Date: Sat, 19 Nov 2005 08:33:59 -0000
Message-ID: <003301c5ece3$fde1c450$0202a8c0@Silver>
To: <public-bpwg@w3.org>
Dear BPWG,

I have read the recent draft of your document. Thank you for taking the time to write it. May I offer the following observations?

1. The document tries to get readers to subscribe to the concept of putting information on links to let the user know how what content follows. I read the document with the expectation that it was going to fill me with insight about how to make a mobile website. Upon reading it I felt that it was akin to some kind of MobileWebDevelopment 101 course, and thus, with an associated enlightenment factor of 0, felt somewhat cheated, as it took a long time to read. It was the same dissappointment that I experienced on first reading the word 'flockynockynihiliphilification' only to discover that the word meant 'nothing'. Thus, if you are planning on writing a document for mobile novices, then please label this clearly at the top of the document. If you are going to follow your own advice on links, then you might want every link to the document to say for example, "a 100,000 word document describing ideas for how to build  a mobile website for the first time - containing some good  - some bad - some really basic - and some conflicting ideas".

2. One example of a basic concept was telling people that they should try and do adaptation on the server, rather than on the device. Now I know that if you're a novice reading a document, it's sometimes nice to come accross a really simple concept, as it gives you confidence that you understand what you are reading. I love simple concepts, in fact, I can only understand simple concepts. However, I feel that if there is anybody out there who without reading the Mobile best practices document, would be taking, a 1MegaByte image, and sending it to a mobile device with the intention that the device will transcode it down to a 128x128 wallpaper... then that person should perhaps not be trying to make any kind of website. I mean the document mentions lowest common denominators... it omits some basic advice, such as 'turn on your computer before you start typing'... I believe that you can get away without having to emphasize that transcoding on a server is better than transcoding on a device, for say images / video and sounds.

3. One example of a wrong concept was telling people to never use an image in place of text. I think that if companies making mobile wap sites told their customers... "oh no don't bother making a logo banner - we'll just use text"... they wouldn't have that customer for very long. In my experience, customers don't want to see any text in menus... they want nice good looking buttons which make good looking websites... Our job is to get those buttons down to a size where they look good, but don't exceed the pageweight for the device. So maybe you want to recommend that people use thin (small height) banners... especially if you are adapting to fill the device screen width, that is, if they are going to take the risk and use an image instead of text...

4. Were you trying to suggest that we should remove whitespace from documents post editing or just to write all xml documents on one line? Assuming the former is the intention, then this would mean that you'd have to have some kind of xslt stylesheet to remove it during a production build. Obviously, its not too hard to make one but if you're aiming your document at novices, then you don't want to even let them have a hint that there exists such thing as xslt, it'll put them right off before they have even made their 'helloworld' mobile webapp.

5. I didn't get the bit about a graphical / textual sitemap. In my opinion, a mobile website should be its own site map. It should be very clear where each bit of the main menu will take you...

With kind regards,


      Tom Thurston

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Received on Sunday, 20 November 2005 08:52:48 UTC

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