Raw notes from 'Everything you wanted to know about the mobile web…' @ sxsw

· conventionology, Mobile, User Experience

…but were afraid to ask:
Great talk! Very thorough. Making me, helping rethink my upcoming Mobile IA presentation at the IA Summit. Here are my raw notes. Apologies for the stream of consciousness nature. You may be better off with Brian Fling’s slides.
Who is Brian Fling?
dir of strategy for blue flavor
mobile designer since 2000, first wap phones
worked with all tier 1 and maj or tier 2, carriers are behemoth
rollingstone, napster, & espn
dotMobi Developers Guide (yet to be released)
part 1, why the mobile web
important part of everything we should be doing
lot of sabre rattling in the space
mobile web concept, vs. desktop web
(vs. one web)
retrieve on a mobile device
how big is the mobile web
bold prediction:
mobile will revolutionize the way everyone gather and interacts with information within the next three years
LBS – location based services
GPS chip in recent phones (Sprint)
preciipice of next gen of the web
data ARPU doubling year after year
golden triangle
user goals
3 c’s
Part 3
Mobile Information Architecture
nobody spefcialized in it
A Bad Mobile IA
Limit categories to 5
Limit links to to 10
No more than 5 levels dee
at least one content item per category
prioritize links by activity or popularity
give a taste of what will be cliked
much less complex ia
to get simple info, like contact info, office locatioh
don’t port over every page
goals, cost, content, and context
crucial deliverable
creating the optimal deliverable
mobile service requires clickstream diagrams
“be prepared to invest some time or hire an IA to do that for you
you’ll spend more time on that than on the actual design”
more compatible vs. richer experience
ideal in the middle
mobile device, mobile web browser, service provider portal, your design
anybody can publish to the mobile web
you can bypass this….
200 x 250 pixels, recommended max size
(all teh different layouts…)
feature phones, smart phones, pdas
majority of people still have smaller screens
the D pad (up down left right)
think vertically
avoid too many links stacked horizontally
canvas not as robust
but has potential
needs designers
forces you to think in terms of the user
mobile web standards:
w3c initiative
part of WAP 2.0
old WAP bad, new WAP good
XHTML Basic and XHTML-MP pretty close
can use dreamweaver, mobile dev aspect
Wireless CSS most if not all
doc styles vs. style sheets
mobile web best practices
Device Description
misunderstood, misused term
should be one web not multiple webs
same info and services for mobile phone
not: desktop web and mobile web identical
not: just use css mobile stylesheet
that ignores context
example, phone numbers are links
correct encoding and doctype
well formed code
accesskeys in primary navigation (numbers)
link limit of no more than 10 per page, really only 5 or 7 max primary navigation points
use ordered lists instead of unordered listes to automatically show the numbers
doc styles to avoid flash of unstyled text
but larger sites use external style sheet ref
maybe use embedded on the home page
link phone numbers
<a href=”tel:+19995551212″>+1 999 555-1212</a>
xHTML-MT and W3C and other standards bodies
use few or no forms, entering data so hard
wiki publishing
how to get them to the site
SSR, Reformat, Stylesheets, Mobile Specific Site
SSR (small screen rendering), do nothing Opera, Treo’s Blazer, re-render on the fly
Programmatically Reformatting (as with PHP)
those don’t address the mobile context
Stylesheets, use handheld styleheet to do adaptation on the fly
Or to create the mobile specific site, best scenario for user, you might have to manage two different sites.
Handheld stylesheet requires one line of code in your markup
Hides content but user still downloads (and pays)
Unless really tricky with markup, can’t address mobile context of user
Mobile-specific site best for context
(but least “elegant” -xian)
start by experimenting with stylesheets
supporting devices & browsers
don’t test all 50 browsers
Focus on Five devices
most devices are derivatives of other devices
Razr pretty much same as Motorola v600, v505, 500, 400… 100
your phone plus four friends
Nokia series 40 (candy bar)
anything given away (LG, samsung)
test on Treo, smartphone, windows phone – bigger screen
domain names
manually enter a mobile-specific url
detect mobile, redirect to user specific location
user enters example.com
use mobile spceific top-level domain
use WAP push, use a short code that returns a url
work for deep linking, promotions, etc.
(but fill out signup forms evil, right? –xian)
Device Detection Dilemma
– Simple device detection – one mobile website for everyone
⁃ .mobi or detect on user agent profile (tricks to avoid huge inventory of profiles)
– Advanced detection – you deliver the best possible code and markup (requires massive inventory of user agents, costly to keep on top of)
customized to the screen
can start testing on a desktop browser
browser tools – opera and firefox tools
emulators – allows for desktop verification without loading onto a device
device testing – focus on five
usability testing – early and often, field tests, casual usability testing
formal testing slows down development time, likes to be more agile
.mobi Mobile Ready Report
helpful tool for tuning your site
MobileDesign.org – mostly a mailing list now, but articles coming
Q: question about voice recog:
A: give “say or press the number”
getting better
Q: strategies for maintaining multiple copies of the site if there will be a separate mobile site
A: movable type to publish static pages, multiple archive types
django also does some cool things
Q: iPhone will use Safari, etc., to view regular websites, will detract, slow-down the inertia?
A: iPhone will be a revolution in the mobile industry
Safari’s been in the Nokia for a year and a half
wifi, will make getting web content more easily
text, readability boost
I fear, we’ll all get iPhones, design for them, forget about “regular” people, majority, people in the developing countries, Africa provides top amount of mobile traffic to the BBC
Q: int’l market. Presentation US-centric?
A: Yes, my experience has been in North America, some experience with operators in Japan and Europe but most of my focus has been in the U.S.
Q: any value in .mobi versus just creating a host m.example.com
A: Is some advantage for some people. A lot of controversy. They really don’t care. Just want people to develop for the mobile web. They’re heavily involvedi in the W3C mobile initiative. Just another tool in the toolchest.
Q: panel on tuesday, Mobile Web doesn’t exist or does it…. I work for vodaphone. I work in Europe.
A: Only a few browsers support Ajax on a mobile device today. The big problem is javascript. It drains batteries very quickly