Update 2005-05-11: W3C announced the launch of a new Mobile Web Initiative (MWI), designed to make Web access from a mobile device as simple, easy, and convenient as Web access from a desktop device. Two new Working Groups have been chartered to support MWI. The Mobile Web Best Practices WG (MWBP) will develop a set of best practices documents and define a 'mobileOK' trustmark. A Device Description WG (DDWG) will develop device descriptions applicable to content adaptation. See details in the news story: "W3C Mobile Web Initiative to Define Best Practices and 'mobileOK' Trustmark."
[November 19, 2004] A W3C "Mobile Web Initiative" Workshop is being held November 18-19, 2004 in Barcelona, Spain. The Workshop has been sponsored by W3C Members HP, Orange, Vodafone and Volantis, and is colocated with an OMA (Open Mobile Alliance) meeting.
W3C has published the full program for the "Mobile Web Initiative" Workshop, together with a collection of forty-some position papers submitted for presentation and discussion. Workshop attendees will discuss "how a W3C initiative could help to make Web access from a mobile device as simple, easy and convenient as Web access from a desktop device."
The Workshop program reflects W3C's recognition that "even though many of today's mobile phones include Web browsers, accessing the Web from a mobile device has not become as popular as expected. Users often find that their favorite Web sites are not accessible or not as easy to use on their mobile phone as on their desktop device. Content providers sometimes are not able to build Web sites that work well on all types and configurations of mobile phones offering Web access."
W3C is therefore considering a proposal to start a "Mobile Web Initiative" (MWI) to address these and related issues. The purpose of the Barcelona Workshop is to get community input and feedback on the MWI proposal, looking at current issues concerning mobile Web access and how they should be addressed.
Some initial ideas for achieving W3C's goal include "developing best practices documents, providing support infrastructures for mobile developers, organizing training programs for Web content providers, and creating validation and conformance testing services for Web-access from mobile devices. These activities would complement current W3C efforts in developing Web standards that support the expanding Web, including mobile devices (e.g., multimodal interaction, mobile profiles, device independence).
From the Announcement
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is hosting a "Mobile Web Initiative" Workshop on 18-19 November in Barcelona, Spain that will discuss the current challenges of "mobile Web" access, and how to address them.
Potential of Mobile Devices on the Web Not Yet Realized
Being able to access the wealth of information available on the Web from a mobile device is valuable in many day-to-day situations, e.g., when checking timetables, looking for product information, checking e-mail, transferring money or accessing a corporate Internet while travelling. Mobile Web access is considered to be a key enabler for mobile Internet services. However, even though many of today's mobile phones include Web browsers, accessing the Web from a mobile device has not become as popular as expected. Users often find that their favorite Web sites are not accessible or not as easy to use on their mobile phone as on their desktop device. Content providers have difficulties building Web sites that work well on all types and configurations of mobile phones offering Web access.
W3C Holds Workshop to Identify Obstacles, Solutions
To address these and related issues, W3C is considering a new effort called the "W3C Mobile Web Initiative". The goal of this initiative is to make Web access from a mobile device as simple, easy and convenient as Web access from a desktop device. Initial ideas for achieving this goal include developing "best practices" documents, providing support infrastructures for mobile developers, organizing training programs for Web content providers and creating validation and conformance testing services for Web-access from mobile devices. These activities would complement current W3C efforts in developing Web standards that support the expanding Web, including mobile devices (e.g., multimodal interaction, mobile profiles, device independence).
Sponsors, Participants Include Industry Leaders in Mobile and Web Technologies
Sponsored by W3C members Hewlett-Packard, Orange, Vodafone and Volantis, and colocated with a meeting of OMA (Open Mobile Alliance), the workshop seeks industry and community input and feedback. Specifically, the workshop will look at the current issues with mobile Web access, and how they should be addressed.
Over 40 position papers have been submitted by mobile and Web technology leaders from around the globe, including 3UK; ACCESS; Adamind; Adobe Systems; Argogroup; BT; Canon; CSP - ICT Innovation; Day Software; ETRI (Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute); Expway; France Telecom; FUNDACION ONCE; Hewlett-Packard; IONA Technologies; MobileAware; mTLD ("Mobile Top-Level Domain") consortium; Nokia; Nordea; NTT DoCoMo; Obigo; Openwave Systems; Opera; Oracle; Orange; PalmSource; Research In Motion; Sony Ericsson; Streamezzo; Sun Microsystems; T-Mobile; Totalbrand; University of Southampton; Vodafone Group Services Ltd; Volantis; Yahoo! and ZoomOn.
A W3C workshop is an opportunity to bring together W3C Members and the public to discuss possible future directions for W3C work. Position papers, presentations, and minutes from this workshop will be posted publicly on the W3C Web site after the workshop.
About the W3C Mobile Web Initiative Workshop
- How can we enable the Web to be made as seamless, uncomplicated and reliable an experience on mobile devices as it is on desktop devices?
- How can we make more users "light up" the mobile devices they already have to access the Web?
- Is it possible to accomodate the need for a different user experience on mobile platforms while avoiding Web fragmentation?
- How can we enable a higher level of compliance and conformance of mobile Web content?
- How can we ease the burden of browser and handset configuration testing?
- How can users discover web sites that work well on mobile devices? Do we need a new "virtual library" for the mobile Web?
- How can we make mobile Web content easier for content and service providers?
- How can we make better use of existing technologies and specifications? Are there gaps? Is there a need for new technologies?
- What technologies are needed to enable uniquely mobile capabilities that go beyond browsing?
- How can device and context adaptation be made easier? What alternative approaches exist — Device profiles (CC/PP, UAProf, ...), Repositories (WURFL, ...)?
- What is the conceptual architecture for the mobile Web?
Program Chairs: Daniel Appelquist (Vodafone), Philipp Hoschka (W3C), and Evan Smouse (HP)
Program Committee Members
- Etienne Annic, Orange
- Daniel Appelquist, Vodafone
- Tim Berners-Lee, W3C
- Timo Bruns, Opera
- Jon Ferraiolo, Adobe
- Jyri Hagman, Nokia
- Aron Holzman, Microsoft
- Philipp Hoschka, W3C
- Tomihisa Kamada, ACCESS
- Rhys Lewis, Volantis
- Philippe Lucas, Orange
- James Pearce, Argogroup
- Vincent Quint, INRIA
- Evan Smouse, HP
- Petri Vuorimaa, Helsinki University of Technology
- Stuart Williams, HP
- Chris Yanda, BBC [from the Workshop Call for Participation]
About W3C Mobile Web Activities
Building the Mobile Web: "Mobile Web technologies are currently one of the most active areas within the W3C, and for good reasons. The mobile web enables new business opportunities for handset manufacturers and is predicted to significantly increase the average revenue per user (ARPU) for mobile operators. Starting with a workshop in 1998, the W3C has developed mobile technologies. Examples include core MMS technologies such as SMIL and SVG as well as XHTML Basic and CC/PP. W3C continues to address many challenges of the Mobile Web, including two with significant present and future impact: multimodal access and single authoring. All the W3C Mobile Web Technologies are developed in a vendor-neutral way with the goal of being implementable on a royalty-free basis. The W3C Process contains strict interoperability and conformance criteria, ensuring the standards are usable across multiple platforms and devices... Partner organizations include 3GPP (3rd Generation Partnership Project) and OMA (Open Mobile Alliance)..."
Multimodal Interaction: W3C Multimodal Interaction standards will enable a new class of exciting mobile applications that combine today's Web technologies with tomorrow's mobile technologies including voice recognition (via Speech Interface Framework, including Speech Recognition Grammar Specification, Speech Synthesis Markup Language, and VoiceXML 2.0), handwriting recognition and gestures (via InkML). Key W3C specifications include Multimodal Interaction Framework, Extensible Multimodal Annotation Markup Language (EMMA), and Ink Markup Language (InkML).
Device Independence: W3C's Device Independence Activity is working on standards that will significantly lower the cost of authoring Web content that can be adapted to specific mobile devices or user preferences. It enables efficient multi-channel publication by single authoring. Key W3C specifications: Authoring Techniques for Device Independence, CC/PP: Structure and Vocabularies 1.0, CSS Media Queries, and Device Independence Principles.
Multimedia Messaging: Various versions of the W3C specification SMIL are at the heart of today's and future MMS systems (MMS SMIL, 3GPP SMIL). MMS will also use W3C's SVG to provide attractive vector graphics and animations. Finally, it will be possible to use XHTML in an MMS message to include traditional Web content. Key W3C specifications include: SMIL, SVG, and XHTML. [from the W3C Mobile web page]
- Announcement 2004-11-17: "W3C Brings Leaders Together in 'Mobile Web Initiative' Workshop. Participants to Explore Current and Potential Applications, Identify Next Actions." [Source: HTML, also in French and Japanese]
- Workshop Call for Participation
- Workshop Program
- Workshop Position papers
- W3C Workshops. "The W3C Team organizes workshops and symposia to promote early involvement in the development of W3C Activities from Members and the public. The goal of a workshop is usually either to convene experts and other interested parties for an exchange of ideas about a technology or policy, or to address the pressing concerns of W3C Members."
- W3C: Building the Mobile Web
- Workshop sponsors: HP, Orange, Vodafone, and Volantis.
- Workshop support: Organized by the i2CAT Foundation, financial support from the European Commission's IST Programme under the MWeb project
- Contact: Daniel Appelquist (Vodafone) or Philipp Hoschka (W3C). Also: "Mobile Web Initiative" Chairs.
- W3C Multimodal Interaction
- W3C Device Independence Home Page. "Access to a Unified Web from Any Device in Any Context by Anyone." The DI Activity is part of the W3C Interaction Domain.
- W3C Device Independence Activity
- W3C Device Independence Charter
- "W3C Highlights Mobile Web Initiative at Workshop." By Laura Rohde. In InfoWorld (November 18, 2004).
- "W3C Eyes Mobile Web Initiative." By Clint Boulton. From InternetNews.com (November 17, 2004).
- Earlier news:
- "W3C and Open Mobile Alliance (OMA) Cooperate on Mobile Web Specifications." News story 2004-07-30.
- "W3C Working Draft on Mobile SVG Profiles Defines Features for Cellphones." News story 2004-07-02.
- "CC/PP Structure and Vocabularies 1.0 Specification for Mobile Devices." News story 2004-01-15.
- "W3C Public Working Draft on Authoring Techniques for Device Independence." News story 2003-11-07.
- "W3C Device Independence Working Group Publishes Specs for a Universally Accessible Web." News story 2003-09-02.