The Web, only Smaller

There’s a great article in CNET today about the growth of the Mobile Web (with a focus on the U.S. market). Good balanced coverage except that they missed out any mention of the Mobile Web Initiative. Still, they’ve mostly reached the right conclusions. They’ve said more-sophisticated handsets, improved mobile browsing technology and increased coverage of high-speed wireless networks will improve the Internet mobile experience and attract many more regular users. I agree, but I also think content that is specifically adapted for mobile use (according to the Mobile Web Best Practices guidelines) will be an essential part of making the Mobile Web a success. Well, I would say that, wouldn’t I — I’m chairing the group. But if anything, three days with the Nokia N73 and its super-de-duper advanced browser has reinforced my belief. Yes, it’s great to be able to bring up any Web site even if it hasn’t been adapted for Mobile browsers. But it’s a much better user experience when the content or service has been adapted and, for example, you don’t have to scroll horizontally to see the whole page, or encounter AJAX coding that makes frequent http requests (even over 3G this is a real killer), etc.. etc..

In short, the Mobile Web will not be a success if it’s The Web, only Smaller. Content and services must adapt and take into account the specific needs of Mobile Web clients and users, even on advanced devices, even on fast networks.

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