Sunday, August 28, 2005

Surfing with a Hand Held

I bought a PDA that enables me to surf the web this spring. I like it a lot, but it's shown me that the owners of a lot of sites haven't recognized that people viewing their pages on a small screen is more and more something that will happen.

Cameron Moll looks at some of the ways that sites can prepare themselves for people like me, who want a good experience when visiting their sites with a series of articles on Mobile Web Design.

So far, it has covered the state of mobile computing, and some of the approaches to designing a site with mobile users in mind. I look forward to the last two parts on "Tips and Techniques" for design, and "Application in the Real World."

One article that the first in the series points to this page: 10 Reasons to Publish to Mobile. Some excellent points in there. It's well worth considering how mobile publishing can benefit your business. This is especially true if you are a smaller, leaner, faster business, that can benefit from the agility to change and adapt to future business patterns and changes in technology. One of the points made in the article is that there are 3 times as many mobile devices out in the world today as there are PCs.


Larry said...


What specific applications do you think would translate well from web/desktop to Cell/PDA?

William Slawski said...

Hi Alan,

I'm not thinking about some of the applications that you can have on a desktop that would translate well to a handheld, though there are a number of those, such as contact management, calendaring, note taking, and more.

Instead, I'm thinking of all the times when having a little more information at your fingertips can improve the quality of your life.

For instance, imagine these scenerios:

1. You are on a business trip to an area that you haven't been before. You have a few hours to kill on the trip, and a visitor's guide to the area, that tells you about some of the local places to visit would be nice.

2. You are in a used bookstore, and come across a book that looks pretty interesting. The price seems kind of steep, and you have no real way to gauge if you are getting value for your money. It would be great to be able to look the book up, and see if you can find the same volume for less online.

3. You've set out for the day to a destination that you believe you've carefully mapped out, only to find that a detour has made your route impossible to follow. A map would be good to have at your fingertips.

4. You go shopping for a new stereo, and are faced with a couple of good choices, both on sale. You'd like an independent opinion of the product, from a site like consumers union. You can drive home and log in, and see if they have an opinion, but the sale seems so good that you are concerned that they will run out of both models. Which do you choose?

Larry said...

Hey Bill:

Contact Managers and such are Utilities, then you mention guides and shopping references. I got that. Good ideas all.

It seems to me we are missing something here. No doubt someone will come up with THE killer app for handhelds...

Maybe it will not be the software, but the hardware that contains the I/O device that changes the world. Imagine having your car tell you your insurance is due, it checks your mileage and you authorize the insurance company to bill you for your actual mileage driven. Or having your auto registration handled wirelessly directly by the car. This could even include an emissions test, since most vehicles actually keep pretty close tabs on those things these days.

The possiblities are endless.