I’m especially moved by your acknowledgment that mobile applications are not only about fitting online content into a smaller screen. While content layout was our main concern when we started Mobilicio.us, it’s obvious that there are other aspects to mobile browsing. Keypad navigation especially is something Mobilicio.us could benefit from.
The fact that Google Mobile (and other transcoding applications) ignore some of these mobile-specific feature is disheartening. However, there are still pages out there that users may not be able to get to at all without these services.
As to how bookmarks in Mobilicio.us should be displayed, we are looking into ways to give users more options. Users will obviously want to load winksite.com directly, while they would appreciate Google’s transcoding on a site like usairways.com. We’re always open to suggestions.
Jason - Not sure about usairways.com but some of these guys with mobile specific sites/applications might object:
Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS)
As far as your comment Re: “…ignore some of these mobile-specific feature is disheartening” - it’s more then just “disheartening”. I made this comment on MobHappy but it’s worth repeating here:
“For tens of million worldwide their mobile phone is their one and only pipeline onto the Internet, to the knowledge it contains, and to each other. Their entire “connected” world is what they can publish and consume directly on their phone. By cavalierly denying access to the tools and communities they need is an injustice. By default, the flawed implementation of this transcoding service leaves people out, behind, and without a voice.”
Context is everything regarding mobile strategy. Audience, context and (business + user) goals need to be defined prior to design, development and deployment of mobile content. Already the debate over SSR (small screen rendering) through Opera and Opera Mini versus customized mobile URLs (and redirects through short URLs) has begun.
At the SxSW panel, we discussed being ‘mobile ready’ simply by being standards compliant and using CSS/XHTML along with CSS MP (mobile profile) and MP-UA (mobile profile user agents) are all you need at this time. I beg to differ. Each situation will have its own context and need, and it is true that many web sites would benefit from being ‘mobile friendly’ . I believe customized mobile sites targeting specific audiences, content and devices along with developing best practices for mobile UI and IA is a necessary starting point.
… which is why this blog exists, to start the conversation and hopefully combine efforts industry-wide to gain some relevant and implementable results.
It’s about putting the web content into the mobile context.
Ive realised this sometime ago and I am currently tying to implement the best of both worlds: adding mobile context to exisitng web pages.
So where google and others proxy the content based on a generic/global set of rules, I try to customise the rules for each page to bring out the best, most relevant content for the mobile user. http://www.mobilised.net
In 1977, the Top Gun Wingman project in UC Berkeley also tried to put web content into the mobile context. Wingman did not get any traction. Like Google Mobile, Wingman removed banners and scaled down graphics. No doubt, today we have CSS MP (mobile profile) and MP-UA (mobile profile user agents).
It’s from my Wingman experience that I am currently focusing on rich mobile client. Why not, rich clients? AJAX is making significant inroads into web apps. We find it quite easy to develop Windows Mobile and J2ME apps calling Web Services.
On a side note, the dotMobi mTLD (mobile top level domain) has just been released and is in the sunrise registration period…the promise of dotMobi is to ensure that those sites with dotMobi extension will be tuned to mobile browsing…it is thus expected to make mobile browsing a far more enriching experience.
One can expect a number of .mobi web sites - those that conform with standards for mobile browsing - to be online starting Oct 2006â€¦while opinion is divided whether dotMobi will revolutionise mobile browsing or would be just another flash in the pan, when one considers that there are four mobile phones for every PC on earth, it certainly appears worth trying out a separate TLD
I absolutely concur that context is fundamental to the mobile UI. My primary device for surfing the Web is my lap-top. My phone is for immediate, specificall targetted, contextually relevant information that I need NOW. Clever icons and graphical ‘devices’ are no substitute for one click access to what I need. One device cannot be expected to do everything perfectly. However, I do want he device I have with me to serve the purpose I need when I need it… or am I being naive?
I’m experimenting with developing some mobile learning examples — and this post was really helpful in my understanding of why so much of what I’m doing doesn’t seem to work! The implementation has really been a great experience for me, and a steep learning curve.
On the “contextual” side I can’t agree more. As an Instructional Designer, most of the “learning” content I see for the mobile space is either a talking head with huge video files, a long boring text file that goes on and on, or just a bunch of aimless links that don’t really display properly.
Reminds me of the old joke — “What is two dead pigs and a tractor that won’t start?” “The Iowa State Fair.” (Well, it’s funny if you grew up in Minnesota.