Mobile web access: the wave of the future?

Mobile web access is a term used to describe access to the Internet through mobile devices such as mobile phones and PDAs (personal digital assistants). Web-enabled mobile devices are becoming more and more common – most cell phones now come with some kind of internet and / or data access feature.

Mobile web access has many advantages. One of the best is that you can take your internet access with you wherever you go – you can download driving directions, find nearby restaurants, use online yellow pages, to name a few uses.

Access to the mobile web could play a vital role in other tasks as well. Take, for example, a remote search and rescue mission: rescue teams could use the Internet to download medical information or communicate with other authorities. Better access to the mobile web could improve the communication skills of anyone on the go: salespeople, law enforcement officers, truckers, pizza delivery people, etc.

The mobile web has a bright and promising future, but it needs some work and development if it is to reach its full potential. Mobile web access currently faces many usability problems, due in large part to the lack of interoperability between computers and mobile devices.

An example is the small screen size of mobile devices. The small size of the screen means that they cannot see most of the standard websites. There are websites designed specifically for mobile devices, which is great. Ideally, however, a standard could be developed to allow mobile device users to easily view any website.

The W3C, the organization that administers many web standards (including HTML), is taking steps to improve the usability of the mobile web. They are trying to establish standards, best practices, recommendations and work on interoperability between devices. Mobile devices are very varied, unlike computers, which are distinguished by some characteristics when it comes to web browsing.

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