The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is calling for participants to take part in a field trial that will help shape the future of the Web on mobile phones.

The W3C standards body launched the Mobile Web Initiative to show users that it is serious about improving the quality of Web access on handhelds, wireless pagers and smart phones. The effort is being overseen by W3C Director and Web creator Tim Berners-Lee, who said that mobile access to the Web “…has been a second class experience for far too long." Berners-Lee discussed the MWI in his keynote speech at the World Wide Web 2005 Conference in Chiba, Japan.

The chief problem lies in the graphical representation. Browsing the Web from a mobile device is challenged by the lack of technology, interoperability and standards to represent Web pages often on a one-inch screen.

To establish users’ preferred method of navigation on small screens such as mobile phones, the MWI is calling for participants to take part in a field trial that will help shape how the best practise guidelines are created. These guidelines are one of the deliverables of the MWI Best Practise working group to help content authors build mobile friendly Web sites.

Segala, founding sponsor of the MWI, is managing the field trial. Segala provides a Web accessibility conformance certification programme for clients such as Mobile operator O2, and is an expert in mobile handsets and products testing. Segala will create use case scenarios for volunteers to follow when conducting their review of a preferred method of navigation. The question that needs to be answered is if users prefer to scroll long pages of text and graphics, or if they would rather have a ‘next page’ facility where only enough text to fit a small screen is displayed. Segala will also manage a user focus group to gain further feedback.

Paul Walsh, CEO of Segala and steering committee member of the MWI comments: “The first step when creating best practice standards for mobile web users is to understand what they actually need and want. This field trial is just one example of how the MWI is embracing users’ views and applying this knowledge to create a user friendly Web in the Mobile environment.”
To register your interest to take part in this field trial, please send an email to mwi@segalamtest.com

Ends
Background information on the Mobile Web Initiative
Segala is working alongside France Telecom, HP, MobileAware, Vodafone and Volantis to ensure that Web access from a mobile device is as simple and convenient as Web access from a desktop device.

Background information on Segala

Segala is a pioneer behind web accessibility conformance certification, working with design agencies, usability companies and their clients, providing them with a branded logo which acts as a seal of approval for web accessibility. Segala has a seat on the MWI Steering Committee and is responsible for the rollout and supervision of the initiative.

Segala is also responsible for actually revising the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) guidelines that are being used for accessibility compliance. The objective is to lead the Web to its full potential by promoting a high degree of usability for people with disabilities.

Segala provides an accreditation service for leading brands such as O2, validating the work produced by its interactive agencies, providing the branded logo on each compliant Web page, acting as a seal of approval for web accessibility.

Notes to editors/contact information:

www.segalamtest.com or contact Paul Walsh +44 (0)7734 606 453

Katie King
2thefore
Tel : 0208 360 2442
Mobile : 07974 161 179
Email: katie@2thefore.biz
www.2thefore.com

Glen Goldsmith
2thefore
Tel: 01483 811 234
Mobile: 07812 766 338
Email: glen@2thefore.biz
www.2thefore.com

Published on: 12:00AM on 23rd August 2005