W3C releases mobile development 'best practices'

Katie Serignese
December 21, 2010 —  (Page 2 of 3)
Developed with the Mobile Web Best Practices Working Group (which includes AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, Google, Nokia and Opera Software), the best practices also address the importance of exploiting a mobile device’s capabilities to enhance the user experience, while understanding not all devices have the same capabilities.

“This means a developer should take advantage of touch-based screens, but still design for other forms of interaction,” Daoust said.

Additionally, the W3C advises developers to not only respect a device’s data constraints, but also its physical constraints (such as a small screen). According to a W3C “cheat sheet,” limiting scrolling to one direction (if it can be avoided), or excluding images that a device cannot render are some ways of respecting device limitations.

Other suggestions included that all information conveyed in color should also be available without color, as well as to not rely on embedded objects or scripts.

“The normal way of developing Web applications is adding a lot of JavaScript code, but developers often forget or don’t try to understand what it is they are doing and often do too many operations in the application’s structure,” Daoust explained.

And this is the real unfriendly way of developing mobile Web applications, he added. It’s overlooking optimization and a device’s restrictions at the expense of cost and battery power.  

The W3C Mobile Web Application Best Practices

Spare the network
Use appropriate Web protocol features to reduce network bottlenecks and latency.
- Cache AJAX data
- Minimize external resources, applications and data size
- Use cookies sparingly
- Optimize network requests

Set users free
Mobile devices are used in various contexts, from killing time at home to urgent requests on the go. Let users know and control what happens to earn their trust.
- Ensure the user is informed about use of personal and device information
- Offer users a choice of interfaces
- Don’t change focus when dynamically updating page sections

Remember Web principles
Mobile devices are just one way to access the Web. Generic Web principles also apply to the development of robust mobile Web applications.
- Replicate local data
- Ensure consistency of state between devices
- Don’t execute unescaped or untrusted JSON data

Related Search Term(s): mobile development, W3C, AJAX, mobile apps

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