MWI day: Panel
Dan: call for coherent approach to avoid fragmentation.
Colin O'Donohue: how can content providers check their content to see if it'll work?
Dan: MobileOK trust mark will be given to sites which validate using a validation tool which will be produced. Tutorials for content providers are in development.
Charles: Opera have guidelines which have formed input for best practices.
Jo: It's early days, but there will be a test suite which follows W3C best practices
Paul: majority of testing will be human interaction-based. It can't all be automated.
Some Journalist: will this lead to a situation where 5% of devices do 95% of the browsing?
Charles: This is the situation Opera Mini is designed for: to allow all devices to access all content. The goal of best practices work is to ensure that content designed reaches 95/99% of devices. Most of the fat tail looks crap; how it looks isn't relevant: people want the information. Compare usability of SMS. "It's about the content, stupid": if people want the stuff, they'll work out how to get it.
Chris: there's a thin/fat fail thing about users as well as content: distribution of usage follows the same curve.
Dan: within Mobile Best Practices they're trying to address not just top-end devices, but a majority: web and WAP 2.0 space, which is where the majority of consumer devices are. Less capable devices don't go away - they tend to spread into less developed markets, which are pending a growth in the mobile web.
Jo: the job becomes easier as standards get better implemented. Demographics will be associated with content types, which means a premium experience can be targeted at specific classes of handsets. BPWG job is to ensure that a minimal level of experience is possible on every phone.
Paul: we don't expect content authors to work with incredibly old devices (e.g. B/W).
Question: has there been any market research done into this?
Dan: companies have been doing research (which is how W3C operates).
Jo: most companies have engaged in (usually proprietary) mobile research, which is frustrating. .mobi are doing research which will be put into the public domain.
Question: date for next draft?
Dan: 2nd/3rd week December. There should be a new draft every 2/3 months, they're working faster than most W3C committees.
Question: Is there to be any standardisation of LBS?
Dan: identity, billing, location all lie outside the scope of the MWI. Getting browsing right will provide the spark which lets companies like Vodafone kick these other things off.
Question (Julian, 3GMobile journo): Operators charging 30cents - 3 euros/mb for data. Won't think work be in vain unless operators sort out business models?
Dan: out of scope for him :)
Paul: guidelines have an idea of max page size which should help here.
Charles: providers understand that there's a correlation between volume, profit, turnover, etc. The web was built on high access costs which then came down. Adaptive content can help manage costs.