"Mobile access to the Web has been a second class experience for far too long," explained Tim Berners-Lee, W3C Director. "MWI recognizes the mobile device as a first class participant, and will produce materials to help developers make the mobile Web experience worthwhile. "
Potential of Mobile Devices on the Web Not Yet Realized
Many of today's mobile devices already feature Web browsers and the demand for mobile devices continues to grow. Despite these trends, browsing the Web from a mobile device -- for example, to find product information, consult timetables, check email, transfer money -- has not become as convenient 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 computer. Content providers have difficulties building Web sites that work well on all types and configurations of mobile phones offering Web access.
W3C has launched the Mobile Web Initiative to make browsing the Web from mobile devices a reality.
W3C Takes Action to Accelerate and Improve Mobile Web Experience
Mobile Web Initiative participants will initially focus on two areas: best practices and mobile device descriptions. The Mobile Web Best Practices Working Group is chartered to develop authoring guidelines, checklists and best practices to help content providers to develop Web content that works well on mobile devices. The Device Description Working Group is chartered to address the development of improved device description solutions, that is, a database of descriptions that can be used by content authors to adapt their content to a particular device.
W3C is already active in the mobile Web space, developing Web standards for multimodal interaction and device-independent design, as well as profiles for mobile devices; related standards include XHTML, SVG Mobile Profiles, and SMIL Mobile Profile. MWI work will complement these current efforts.
Sponsors, Participants Include Industry Leaders in Mobile and Web Technologies
W3C Members France Telecom, HP, MobileAware, Segala, Vodafone, and Volantis have stepped forward as Founding Sponsors of the Mobile Web Initiative. MWI Founding Sponsors enjoy unique benefits, including a seat on the MWI Steering Committee, the group that will set the direction of the MWI and propose new work. All W3C Members are eligible to become MWI Founding Sponsors until 1 July 2005.
Efforts to Be Coordinated with Relevant Organizations
The MWI is chartered to establish cooperative ties with related groups, including the Open Mobile Alliance (OMA) and 3GPP. These ties will help ensure that the needs of users are well-defined and that the efforts of the MWI and these related groups are complementary.