W3C are producing an online training course for mobile Web developers: “An Introduction to W3C’s Mobile Web Best Practices” which will run from May 26 to June 20 2008. This will be a great chance to get more information on mobile Web development practices from the experts — highly recommended for any Web developers out there who are interested in getting into mobile. W3C is organizing an online course to introduce Web developers and designers to W3C’s Mobile Web Best Practices. In this course you will: * learn about the specific promises and challenges of the mobile platform * learn how to use W3C’s Mobile Web Best Practices to design mobile-friendly Web content and to mobilize existing content * discover the relevant W3C resources for mobile Web design Participants will have access to lectures and assignments providing hands-on practical experience with using W3C’s mobile Web Best Practices. They will have direct access to W3C experts on this topic who are the instructors for this course. Participants will also be able to discuss and share experiences with their peers who are faced with the challenges of mobile Web design. More information at http://www.w3.org/2008/03/MobiWeb101/Overview.html Register now at http://www.3gwebtrain.com/moodle/

Just made a presentation at Web 2.0 Expo here in San Francisco. This presentation was a bit of an experiment – combining some “vision thing” stuff about the Mobile Web with some specific recommendations for building Mobile Ajax applications (and thanks to Óscar Gutiérrez Isiégas, Scott Hughes and Jonathan Jeon for their contributions). I got a lot of requests for the slides – so here they are for anyone interested!   | View | Upload your own

I was very lucky this past week to have been invited to Seoul (along with the other members of the W3C Mobile Web Best Practices, Device Descriptions and Ubiquitous Web working groups) to participate in something that came to be know as Mobile Web Week. The week of W3C working group meetings was punctuated by a day-long open workshop which we named W3C Mobile Wednesday. (Yes, my intention is to mobilize every day of the week – already we have had Mobile Monday and Mobile Sunday. Now Wednesday has fallen. Can Thursday be far behind?) Mobile Wednesday was actually a unique opportunity to hear from people working in Korea on the sharp end of the Mobile Web and to do a little bit of a sales job about the work we’ve been doing in the W3C Mobile Web Initiative and why it might be relevant there. One factor that greatly helped create a feeling of open dialog was the presence of simultaneous translation during the whole event. It’s a luxury I almost never get to experience, but it really can help to facilitate discussion when someone else is worrying about the burden of translation. The translators were a wonder – deftly dealing with sometimes very thick technical discussion, especially during the panel sessions. Besides Mobile Wednesday, I also had the pleasure of speaking to many Koreans living and breathing the Mobile Web, including representatives of the Mobile Web 2.0 Forum, the Korean W3C office, ETRI, and of the Korean companies involved in W3C activities, such as …

Reflections on the Mobile Web in Korea Read more »

I’m sitting in the Korean Airlines lounge in Narita (Tokyo) airport after an 11 hour flight from London, watching a seemingly endless succession of JAL 747s taking off. When I arrived, there were no promised uniformed agents showing me the way. All the doors marked “international connections” were closed. In the end, I had to find my way through a very forbidding looking corridor and I was sure I was going to be turned back and possibly detained, but the airport staff I eventually found were very helpful and guided me to the checkpoint I needed for my connection. So, here I sit, stealing WiFi from the Northwest lounge next door. In an hour I’ll be on another flight on my way to Seoul, South Korea. I don’t speak a word of Korean, I have no local currency and I’ve most likely packed the wrong plug adapters. But on Monday morning, I will convene the next face to face meeting of the W3C Mobile Web Best Practices working group. After that, I plan to participate in an event called W3C Mobile Wednesday, a kind of east-meets-west open conference-style event bringing together people working in mobile Web standardization and those working on the sharp end of the mobile Web in Korea: people from manufacturers and operators, yes, but also entrepreneuers, bloggers, developers. It’s all thanks to the Korean Mobile Web 2.0 Forum, ETRI, and the people at the W3C offfice in Korea. I’m very excited about this event and this whole week. Besides making some real progress …

Why am I Going to Korea? Read more »

I got “video blogged” at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona last week by Dennis Howlett. Dennis captured me talking about the landscape and future of the mobile Web. Unfortunately, he edited out the bit where I was talking about the W3C Mobile Web Initiative, which was kind of the point of the whole thing (from my perspective). The material that made it in was some scene-setting for why we created the Mobile Web Initiative and developed the Mobile Web Best Practices and MobileOK, both of which were being showcased at the W3C booth at the congress.

In June 2005, I wrote in these pages about an issue I knew we were going to have to grapple with in the Mobile Web Best Practices group that we were then kicking off. What is the intersection of mobility and accessibility when it comes to Web content? In fact, the initial approach and early work of the group that set the foundations for the Mobile Web Best Practices and for MobileOK was based on the work of the W3C’s Web Accessibility Initiative, and specifically the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines document. This week, we have followed up the release of MobileOK with a new document that details exactly that: describe the relationship between Mobile Web Best Practices and Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. Why should you care? If you’re trying to provide a service on the Web, you need to care about both accessibility and mobility. Both of these topics require some investment in skills, tools, and development time, so understanding where the overlaps are should greatly help to reduce development costs and time to market. At the end of the day, it’s also about maximizing the potential audience for your service, regardless of a user’s disability or the device used to access that service.

[ad] James Pearce (CTO of dotMobi) wrote a great article yesterday about the impact of the iPhone on the industry and what it means for them. Of course, he’s right. What the iPhone is doing is helping the Web along to become a mobile medium. Does this make dotMobi or efforts like the W3C Mobile Web Initiative obsolete? Let me pose the question another way. In 5 years’ time, when the majority of Web usage is from mobile devices, will we all be using the browsers on these devices to pan, scan and zoom around pages that were designed for large screen desktop PCs? I think we can agree that this would be a kind of dystopian vision of the future of the Web. Apple certainly agrees. That’s why they released a set of guidelines on ptimizing Web Applications and Content for iPhone. These guidelines, while developed by Apple in house specifically to match the capabilities of the iPhone browser, bear a striking resemblance to the W3C Mobile Web Best Practices and the dotMobi Developer Guide in their approach, language and purpose. All these documents are trying to change the mind-set of developers to get them to think about both the technical differences between mobile devices and PCs (for example, Apple saying “a touch-screen is not a mouse”) and also the differences in usage and behavior that need to be taken into account in designing for mobile use. The main difference between the Apple guidelines and the dotMobi and W3C documents are the level of browser …

The iPhone, dotMobi and the Future of the Mobile Web Read more »

After a great meeting of the Mobile Web Best Practices working group last week, the group decided to issue a “Last Call” working draft of the mobileOK Basic specification. This spec is basically a series of tests you can perform on content to evaluate how well it implements the best practices themselves. Because many of the best practices are not machine testable, these test necessarily only represent a subset of the best practices, but they’re a good place to start (hence “basic”). The specification (actually “mobileOK Basic Tests 1.0”) is intended to raise the quality bar on mobile Web content. I invite you to review it and send comments in to the public W3C mailing list (public-bpwg-comments@w3.org).