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SXSW Panel: Everything you always wanted to know about the mobile Web*


*But were afraid to ask.

Presented by Brian Fling, Directory of Strategy at BlueFlavor

Most of what follows references his slides, available at

(In his screens, internet users = desktops)

“Find a need and fill it.” His dad created the portion-controlling soda dispenser… but originally for beer. Didn’t figure out it was actually needed for fast food. Put solution in front of the actual problem.

Software referenced in the presentation:

Notes on various slides in the presentation:

  • Majority of users still have smaller screens with their feature phones — our conference Treos, etc. are in the minority. Design VERTICALLY (not horizontally like in presentation slide)
  • New WAP 2.0 is better than old WAP, in many ways indistinguishable from other standards. XHTML almost = XHTML-MP.
  • Firefox and Opera both have tools to help develop for the mobile web.
  • On the mobile web, phone number should be links. May not make sense to serve the same code and modify with stylesheets, for example.
  • On a mobile device, navigation is content. It can’t be to the side, etc. Assigned accesskeys make much more sense on mobile as well. Ordered lists (rather than unordered lists) can show the accesskey (instead of having to write what key it is.)
  • About document styles, use document styles (unless a larger project, at which point they can become unmanageable — OK to use linked styles then).

Comments on “Context vs. Content” Slide:

SSR = Small Screen Rendering — Opera mini, Palm Blazer — app automatically changes formatting when a site isn’t optimized for mobile web. OK, but not nearly as a good of an experience for a user compared to an optimized site.

Stylesheets are OK approach, but if you hide content with CSS, the user still has to download it. Mobile specific site is best for user, but most difficult to develop.

On Testing:

Focus on five phones — at least one Razer, Treo, some small screen phones… If you do that and have good code, you’ll probably be OK.

Check out (development guide). and (mobile site testing). Also check out

Q&A Session:

Q: With the coming iPhone, since it’s going to render the real web, are people just not going to develop for the mobile web?

A: Nokia has been using Safari for their browser for over a year and a half… iPhone will be using browser as well. More worried people will develop for just the iPhone and forget about all the users out there on small screens. Expects iPhone to have a big impact… Just everone is waiting to see what it will be.

Posted in SXSW,SXSW Panels at 3:01 pm

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