Responsive web design (RWD) is an approach to web design aimed at crafting sites to provide an optimal viewing experience—easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling—across a wide range of devices (from desktop computer monitors to mobile phones).
Progressive enhancement based on browser-, device-, or feature-detection
Challenges, and other approaches
Luke Wroblewski has summarized some of the RWD and mobile design challenges, and created a catalog of multi-device layout patterns. He suggests that, compared with a simple RWD approach, device experience or RESS (responsive web design with server-side components) approaches can provide a user experience that is better optimized for mobile devices. Server-side “dynamic CSS” implementation of stylesheet languages like Sass or Incentivated’s MML can be part of such an approach by accessing a server based API which handles the device (typically mobile handset) differences in conjunction with a device capabilities database in order to improve usability. RESS is more expensive to develop, requiring more than just client-side logic, and so tends to be reserved for organizations with larger budgets. Google recommends responsive design for smartphone websites over other approaches.
Although many publishers are starting to implement responsive designs, one ongoing challenge for RWD is that some banner advertisements and videos are not fluid. However, search advertising and (banner) display advertising support specific device platform targeting and different advertisement size formats for desktop, smartphone, and basic mobile devices. Different landing pageURLs can be used for different platforms, orAjax can be used to display different advertisement variants on a page. CSS tables permit hybrid fixed+fluid layouts.
There are now many ways of validating and testing RWD designs, ranging from mobile site validators and mobile emulators to simultaneous testing tools like Adobe Edge Inspect. The Firefox browser and the Chrome console offer responsive design viewport resizing tools, as do third parties.
A site layout example that adapts to browser viewport width was first demonstrated by Cameron Adams in 2004. By 2008, a number of related terms such as “flexible”, “liquid”, “fluid”, and “elastic” were being used to describe layouts. CSS3 media queries were almost ready for prime time in late 2008/early 2009. Ethan Marcotte coined the term responsive web design  (RWD)—and defined it to mean fluid grid/ flexible images/ media queries—in a May 2010 article in A List Apart. He described the theory and practice of responsive web design in his brief 2011 book titled Responsive Web Design. Responsive design was listed as #2 in Top Web Design Trends for 2012 by .net magazine after progressive enhancement at #1.
Mashable called 2013 the Year of Responsive Web Design. Many other sources have recommended responsive design as a cost-effective alternative to mobile applications.
Forbes featured a piece, ‘Why You Need To Prioritize Responsive Design Now’  where the importance was made clear that having a mobile version of your website isn’t enough anymore. Jody Resnick, President ofTrighton Interactive stated in his interview with Forbes, “Responsive websites simplify internet marketing and SEO. Instead of having to develop and manage content for multiple websites, businesses with responsive sites can take a unified approach to content management because they have only the one responsive site to manage.
Resnick predicts, “As the internet transforms further into a platform of services and user interfaces that tie those services together, leveraging this technology in the future will allow companies to integrate a plethora of back-end services, such as Facebook, Twitter, Salesforce.com, and Amazon Web Services, and then present the integrated data back out the front-end iad layer on a responsive design so the application looks great on all devices without custom coding needed for each device or screen size.”
Some believe that responsive design will be more prevalent than native apps simply because of the browser compatibility and the cost associated with programming the apps.
1983: California State Assembly holds first hearing on “electronic commerce” in Volcano, California. Testifying are CPUC, MCI Mail, Prodigy, CompuServe, Volcano Telephone, and Pacific Telesis. (Not permitted to testify is Quantum Technology, later to become AOL.)
1984: Gateshead SIS/Tesco is first B2C online shopping system  and Mrs Snowball, 72, is the first online home shopper
1984: In April 1984, CompuServe launches the Electronic Mall in the USA and Canada. It is the first comprehensive electronic commerce service.
1995: Jeff Bezos launches Amazon.com and the first commercial-free 24-hour, internet-only radio stations, Radio HK and NetRadio start broadcasting. Dell and Cisco begin to aggressively use Internet for commercial transactions. eBay is founded by computer programmer Pierre Omidyar as AuctionWeb.
1996: IndiaMART B2B marketplace established in India.
1996: ECPlaza B2B marketplace established in Korea.
1996: Sellerdeck, formerly Actinic, the UK’s first PC/LAN e-commerce platform established.
1999: Alibaba Group is established in China. Business.com sold for US $7.5 million to eCompanies, which was purchased in 1997 for US $149,000. The peer-to-peer filesharing software Napster launches. ATG Stores launches to sell decorative items for the home online.
2001: Alibaba.com achieved profitability in December 2001.
2002: eBay acquires PayPal for $1.5 billion. Niche retail companies Wayfair and NetShops are founded with the concept of selling products through several targeted domains, rather than a central portal.
2009: Zappos.com acquired by Amazon.com for $928 million. Retail Convergence, operator of private sale website RueLaLa.com, acquired by GSI Commerce for $180 million, plus up to $170 million in earn-out payments based on performance through 2012.
2010: Groupon reportedly rejects a $6 billion offer from Google. Instead, the group buying websites went ahead with an IPO on 4 November 2011. It was the largest IPO since Google.
2013: US eCommerce and Online Retail holiday sales reach $46.5 billion, up 10 percent.
2014: Overstock.com processes over $1 million in Bitcoin sales. India’s e-commerce industry is estimated to have grown more than 30% from 2012 to $12.6 billion in 2013. US eCommerce and Online Retail sales projected to reach $294 billion, an increase of 12 percent over 2013 and 9% of all retail sales.Alibaba Group has the largest Initial public offering ever, worth $25 billion.
There is also collaboration between Google and US federal authorities to block illegal online pharmacies from appearing in Google search results. Recently FedEx Corporation pleaded not guilty to charges made against it regarding dealing with illegal online pharmacies.
Conflict of laws in cyberspace  is a major hurdle for harmonisation of legal framework for e-commerce around the world. In order to give a uniformity to e-commerce law around the world, many countries adopted the UNCITRAL Model Law on Electronic Commerce (1996) 
Internationally there is the International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network (ICPEN), which was formed in 1991 from an informal network of government customer fair trade organisations. The purpose was stated as being to find ways of co-operating on tackling consumer problems connected with cross-border transactions in both goods and services, and to help ensure exchanges of information among the participants for mutual benefit and understanding. From this came Econsumer.gov, an ICPEN initiative since April 2001. It is a portal to report complaints about online and related transactions with foreign companies.
There is also Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) was established in 1989 with the vision of achieving stability, security and prosperity for the region through free and open trade and investment. APEC has an Electronic Commerce Steering Group as well as working on common privacy regulations throughout the APEC region.
In the United Kingdom, The Financial Services Authority (FSA) was formerly the regulating authority for most aspects of the EU’s Payment Services Directive (PSD), until its replacement in 2013 by the Prudential Regulation Authority and the Financial Conduct Authority. The UK implemented the PSD through the Payment Services Regulations 2009 (PSRs), which came into effect on 1 November 2009. The PSR affects firms providing payment services and their customers. These firms include banks, non-bank credit card issuers and non-bank merchant acquirers, e-money issuers, etc. The PSRs created a new class of regulated firms known as payment institutions (PIs), who are subject to prudential requirements. Article 87 of the PSD requires the European Commission to report on the implementation and impact of the PSD by 1 November 2012.
In India, the Information Technology Act 2000 governs the basic applicability of e-commerce. It is based upon UNCITRAL Model but is not a comprehensive legislation to deal with e-commerce related activities in India. Further, e-commerce laws and regulations in India  are also supplemented by different laws of India as applicable to the field of e-commerce. For instance, e-commerce relating to pharmaceuticals, healthcare, traveling, etc. are governed by different laws though the information technology act, 2000 prescribes some common requirements for all these fields. The competition commission of India (CCI) regulates anti competition and anti trade practices in e-commerce fields in India. Some stakeholders have decided to approach courts and CCI against e-commerce websites to file complaint about unfair trade practices and predatory pricing by such e-commerce websites.
Contemporary electronic commerce involves everything from ordering “digital” content for immediate online consumption, to ordering conventional goods and services, to “meta” services to facilitate other types of electronic commerce.
On the institutional level, big corporations and financial institutions use the internet to exchange financial data to facilitate domestic and international business. Data integrity and security are very hot and pressing issues for electronic commerce.
Aside from traditional e-Commerce, m-Commerce as well as the nascent t-Commerce channels are often seen as the current 2013 poster children of electronic I-Commerce.
In 2010, the United Kingdom had the biggest e-commerce market in the world when measured by the amount spent per capita. The Czech Republic is the European country where ecommerce delivers the biggest contribution to the enterprises´ total revenue. Almost a quarter (24%) of the country’s total turnover is generated via the online channel.
Among emerging economies, China’s e-commerce presence continues to expand every year. With 384 million internet users, China’s online shopping sales rose to $36.6 billion in 2009 and one of the reasons behind the huge growth has been the improved trust level for shoppers. The Chinese retailers have been able to help consumers feel more comfortable shopping online. China’s cross-border e-commerce is also growing rapidly. E-commerce transactions between China and other countries increased 32% to 2.3 trillion yuan ($375.8 billion) in 2012 and accounted for 9.6% of China’s total international trade  In 2013, Alibaba had an e-commerce market share of 80% in China.
Other BRIC countries are witnessing the accelerated growth of eCommerce as well. Brazil’s eCommerce is growing quickly with retail eCommerce sales expected to grow at a healthy double-digit pace through 2014. By 2016, eMarketer expects retail ecommerce sales in Brazil to reach $17.3 billion. India has an internet user base of about 243.2 million as of January 2014. Despite being third largest userbase in world, the penetration of Internet is low compared to markets like the United States, United Kingdom or France but is growing at a much faster rate, adding around 6 million new entrants every month. The industry consensus is that growth is at an inflection point. In India, cash on delivery is the most preferred payment method, accumulating 75% of the e-retail activities.
E-Commerce has become an important tool for small and large businesses worldwide, not only to sell to customers, but also to engage them.
In 2012, ecommerce sales topped $1 trillion for the first time in history.
Mobile devices are playing an increasing role in the mix of eCommerce. Some estimates show that purchases made on mobile devices will make up 25% of the market by 2017. According to Cisco Visual Networking Index, in 2014 the amount of mobile devices will outnumber the number of world population.
Impact on markets and retailers
Economists have theorized that e-commerce ought to lead to intensified price competition, as it increases consumers’ ability to gather information about products and prices. Research by four economists at the University of Chicago has found that the growth of online shopping has also affected industry structure in two areas that have seen significant growth in e-commerce, bookshops and travel agencies. Generally, larger firms are able to useeconomies of scale and offer lower prices. The lone exception to this pattern has been the very smallest category of bookseller, shops with between one and four employees, which appear to have withstood the trend.
Individual or business involved in e-commerce whether buyers or sellers rely on Internet-based technology in order to accomplish their transactions. E-commerce is recognized for its ability to allow business to communicate and to form transaction anytime and anyplace. Whether an individual is in the US or overseas, business can be conducted through the internet. The power of e-commerce allows geophysical barriers to disappear, making all consumers and businesses on earth potential customers and suppliers. eBay is a good example of e-commerce business individuals and businesses are able to post their items and sell them around the Globe.
E-commerce has grown in importance as companies have adopted pure-click and brick-and-click channel systems. We can distinguish pure-click and brick-and-click channel system adopted by companies.
Pure-click or pure-play companies are those that have launched a website without any previous existence as a firm.
Bricks-and-clicks companies are those existing companies that have added an online site for e-commerce.
Click-to-brick online retailers that later open physical locations to supplement their online efforts.
Examples of new E-commerce system
According to eMarketer research company, “by 2017, 65.8 per cent of Britons will use smartphones”. (cited by Williams, 2014)
Bringing online experience into the real world, allows also the development of the economy and the interaction between stores and customers. A great example of this new e-commerce system is what the Burberry store in London did in 2012. They refurbished the entire store with numerous big screens, photo-studios, and also provided a stage for live acts. Moreover, on the digital screens which are across the store, some fashion shows´ images and advertising campaigns are displayed. (William, 2014) In this way, the experience of purchasing becomes more vivid and entertaining while the online and offline components are working together. Another example could be Kiddicare smartphone app, in which costumers can compare prices against adversaries. Moreover, the app allows people to know where the sale products are and to check whether the item they are looking for is in stock or if they have to ask for it online without going to the `real´ store. (William, 2014) In the United States, Walmart app in which you can check the product availability and prices both online and offline. Moreover, you can also add to your shopping list items by scanning them, see their details and information, and check purchasers´ ratings and reviews.
Jump up^1988 Palmer.C Using IT for competitive advantage at Thomson Holidays, Long range Planning Vol 21 No.6 p26-29, Institute of Strategic Studies Journal,London- Pergamon Press [now Elsevier.B.V.] December 1988.
Web design encompasses many different skills and disciplines in the production and maintenance of websites. The different areas of web design include web graphic design; interface design; authoring, including standardised code and proprietary software; user experience design; and search engine optimization. Often many individuals will work in teams covering different aspects of the design process, although some designers will cover them all. The term web design is normally used to describe the design process relating to the front-end (client side) design of a website including writing mark up. Web design partially overlaps web engineering in the broader scope of web development. Web designers are expected to have an awareness of usability and if their role involves creating mark up then they are also expected to be up to date with web accessibility guidelines.
Although web design has a fairly recent history, it can be linked to other areas such as graphic design. However web design can also be seen from a technological standpoint. It has become a large part of people’s everyday lives. It is hard to imagine the Internet without animated graphics, different styles of typography, background and music.
The start of the web and web design
Evolution of web design
In 1996, Microsoft released its first competitive browser, which was complete with its own features and tags. It was also the first browser to support style sheets, which at the time was seen as an obscure authoring technique. The HTML markup for tables was originally intended for displaying tabular data. However designers quickly realized the potential of using HTML tables for creating the complex, multi-column layouts that were otherwise not possible. At this time, as design and good aesthetics seemed to take precedence over good mark-up structure, and little attention was paid to semantics and web accessibility. HTML sites were limited in their design options, even more so with earlier versions of HTML. To create complex designs, many web designers had to use complicated table structures or even use blank spacer .GIF images to stop empty table cells from collapsing.CSS was introduced in December 1996 by the W3C to support presentation and layout. This allowed HTML code to be semantic rather than both semantic and presentational, and improved web accessibility, see tableless web design.
End of the first browser wars
During 1998 Netscape released Netscape Communicator code under an open source licence, enabling thousands of developers to participate in improving the software. However, they decided to start from the beginning, which guided the development of the open source browser and soon expanded to a complete application platform. The Web Standards Project was formed and promoted browser compliance with HTML and CSSstandards by creating Acid1, Acid2, and Acid3 tests. 2000 was a big year for Microsoft. Internet Explorer was released for Mac; this was significant as it was the first browser that fully supported HTML 4.01 and CSS 1, raising the bar in terms of standards compliance. It was also the first browser to fully support the PNG image format. During this time Netscape was sold to AOL and this was seen as Netscape’s official loss to Microsoft in the browser wars.
Since the start of the 21st century the web has become more and more integrated into peoples lives. As this has happened the technology of the web has also moved on. There have also been significant changes in the way people use and access the web, and this has changed how sites are designed.
Since the end of the browsers wars there have been new browsers coming onto the scene. Many of these are open source meaning that they tend to have faster development and are more supportive of new standards. The new options are considered by many to be better than Microsoft’s Internet Explorer.
Tools and technologies
Web designers use a variety of different tools depending on what part of the production process they are involved in. These tools are updated over time by newer standards and software but the principles behind them remain the same. Web graphic designers use vector and raster graphics packages to create web-formatted imagery or design prototypes. Technologies used to create websites include standardised mark-up, which can be hand-coded or generated by WYSIWYG editing software. There is also proprietary software based on plug-ins that bypasses the client’s browser versions. These are often WYSIWYG but with the option of using the software’s scripting language. Search engine optimisation tools may be used to check search engine ranking and suggest improvements.
Other tools web designers might use include mark up validators and other testing tools for usability and accessibility to ensure their web sites meet web accessibility guidelines.
Skills and techniques
Marketing and communication design
Marketing and communication design on a website may identify what works for its target market. This can be an age group or particular strand of culture; thus the designer may understand the trends of its audience. Designers may also understand the type of website they are designing, meaning, for example, that (B2B) business-to-business website design considerations might differ greatly from a consumer targeted website such as aretail or entertainment website. Careful consideration might be made to ensure that the aesthetics or overall design of a site do not clash with the clarity and accuracy of the content or the ease of web navigation,especially on a B2B website. Designers may also consider the reputation of the owner or business the site is representing to make sure they are portrayed favourably.
User experience design and interactive design
User understanding of the content of a website often depends on user understanding of how the website works. This is part of the user experience design. User experience is related to layout, clear instructions and labeling on a website. How well a user understands how they can interact on a site may also depend on the interactive design of the site. If a user perceives the usefulness of the website, they are more likely to continue using it. Users who are skilled and well versed with website use may find a more unique, yet less intuitive or less user-friendly website interface useful nonetheless. However, users with less experience are less likely to see the advantages or usefulness of a less intuitive website interface. This drives the trend for a more universal user experience and ease of access to accommodate as many users as possible regardless of user skill. Much of the user experience design and interactive design are considered in the user interface design.
Advanced interactive functions may require plug-ins if not advanced coding language skills. Choosing whether or not to use interactivity that requires plug-ins is a critical decision in user experience design. If the plug-in doesn’t come pre-installed with most browsers, there’s a risk that the user will have neither the know how or the patience to install a plug-in just to access the content. If the function requires advanced coding language skills, it may be too costly in either time or money to code compared to the amount of enhancement the function will add to the user experience. There’s also a risk that advanced interactivity may be incompatible with older browsers or hardware configurations. Publishing a function that doesn’t work reliably is potentially worse for the user experience than making no attempt. It depends on the target audience if it’s likely to be needed or worth any risks.
Part of the user interface design is affected by the quality of the page layout. For example, a designer may consider whether the site’s page layout should remain consistent on different pages when designing the layout. Page pixel width may also be considered vital for aligning objects in the layout design. The most popular fixed-width websites generally have the same set width to match the current most popular browser window, at the current most popular screen resolution, on the current most popular monitor size. Most pages are also center-aligned for concerns of aesthetics on larger screens.
Fluid layouts increased in popularity around 2000 as an alternative to HTML-table-based layouts and grid-based design in both page layout design principle and in coding technique, but were very slow to be adopted.[note 1] This was due to considerations of screen reading devices and varying windows sizes which designers have no control over. Accordingly, a design may be broken down into units (sidebars, content blocks,embedded advertising areas, navigation areas) that are sent to the browser and which will be fitted into the display window by the browser, as best it can. As the browser does recognize the details of the reader’s screen (window size, font size relative to window etc.) the browser can make user-specific layout adjustments to fluid layouts, but not fixed-width layouts. Although such a display may often change the relative position of major content units, sidebars may be displaced below body text rather than to the side of it. This is a more flexible display than a hard-coded grid-based layout that doesn’t fit the device window. In particular, the relative position of content blocks may change while leaving the content within the block unaffected. This also minimizes the user’s need to horizontally scroll the page.
Responsive Web Design is a newer approach, based on CSS3, and a deeper level of per-device specification within the page’s stylesheet through an enhanced use of the CSS @media rule.
Web designers may choose to limit the variety of website typefaces to only a few which are of a similar style, instead of using a wide range of typefaces or type styles. Most browsers recognize a specific number of safe fonts, which designers mainly use in order to avoid complications.
Font downloading was later included in the CSS3 fonts module and has since been implemented in Safari 3.1, Opera 10 and Mozilla Firefox 3.5. This has subsequently increased interest in web typography, as well as the usage of font downloading.
Most site layouts incorporate negative space to break the text up into paragraphs and also avoid center-aligned text.
The page layout and user interface may also be affected by the use of motion graphics. The choice of whether or not to use motion graphics may depend on the target market for the website. Motion graphics may be expected or at least better received with an entertainment-oriented website. However, a website target audience with a more serious or formal interest (such as business, community, or government) might find animations unnecessary and distracting if only for entertainment or decoration purposes. This doesn’t mean that more serious content couldn’t be enhanced with animated or video presentations that is relevant to the content. In either case, motion graphic design may make the difference between more effective visuals or distracting visuals.
Quality of code
Website designers may consider it to be good practice to conform to standards. This is usually done via a description specifying what the element is doing. Failure to conform to standards may not make a website unusable or error prone, but standards can relate to the correct layout of pages for readability as well making sure coded elements are closed appropriately. This includes errors in code, more organized layout for code, and making sure IDs and classes are identified properly. Poorly-coded pages are sometimes colloquially called tag soup. Validating via W3C can only be done when a correct DOCTYPE declaration is made, which is used to highlight errors in code. The system identifies the errors and areas that do not conform to web design standards. This information can then be corrected by the user.
Usability experts, including Jakob Nielsen and Kyle Soucy, have often emphasised homepage design for website success and asserted that the homepage is the most important page on a website. However practitioners into the 2000s were starting to find that a growing number of website traffic was bypassing the homepage, going directly to internal content pages through search engines, e-newsletters and RSS feeds.Leading many practitioners to argue that homepages are less important than most people think. Jared Spool argued in 2007 that a site’s homepage was actually the least important page on a website.
In 2012 and 2013, carousels (also called ‘sliders’ and ‘rotating banners’) have become an extremely popular design element on homepages, often used to showcase featured or recent content in a confined space. Many practitioners argue that carousels are an ineffective design element and hurt a website’s search engine optimisation and usability.
Further jobs which may become involved in the creation of a website include:
Internet marketing specialists to help maintain web presence through strategic solutions on targeting viewers to the site, by using marketing and promotional techniques on the internet
SEO writers to research and recommend the correct words to be incorporated into a particular website and make the website more accessible and found on numerous search engines
Internet copywriter to create the written content of the page to appeal to the targeted viewers of the site
User experience (UX) designer incorporates aspects of user focused design considerations which include information architecture, user centered design, user testing, interaction design, and occasionally visual design.
Jump up^Castan ̃eda, J.A; Francisco Mun ̃oz-Leiva, Teodoro Luque (2007). “Web Acceptance Model (WAM): Moderating effects of user experience”. Information & Management44: 384–396. doi:10.1016/j.im.2007.02.003.
Traditionally, access to the Web has been via fixed-line services on laptops and desktop computers. However, the Web is becoming more accessible by portable and wireless devices. An early 2010 ITU (International Telecommunication Union) report said that with the current growth rates, web access by people on the go — via laptops and smart mobile devices – is likely to exceed web access from desktop computers within the next five years. The shift to mobile Web access has been accelerating with the rise since 2007 of larger multitouch smartphones, and of multitouch tablet computers since 2010. Both platforms provide better Internet access, screens, and mobile browsers– or application-based user Web experiences than previous generations of mobile devices have done. Web designers may work separately on such pages, or pages may be automatically converted as in Mobile Wikipedia.
In an article in Communications of the ACM in April 2013, Web technologist Nicholas C. Zakas, noted that mobile phones in use in 2013 were more powerful than Apollo 11‘s 70 lb (32 kg) Apollo Guidance Computerused in the July 1969 lunar landing. However, in spite of their power, in 2013, mobile devices still suffer from Web performance with slow connections similar to the 1996 stage of Web development. Mobile devices with slower download request/response times, the latency of over-the-air data transmission, with “high-latency connections, slower CPUs, and less memory” force developers to rethink Web applications created for desktops with “wired connections, fast CPUs, and almost endless memory.”
‘Mobile Internet’ refers to access to the Internet via a cellular telephone service provider. It is wireless access that can handoff to another radio tower while it is moving across the service area. It can refer an immobile device that stays connected to one tower, but this is not the meaning of “mobile” here. Wi-Fi and other better methods are commonly available for users not on the move. Cellular base stations are more expensive to provide than a wireless base station that connects directly to an internet service provider, rather than through the telephone system.
A mobile phone, such as a smartphone, that connects to data or voice services without going through the cellular base station is not on mobile Internet. A laptop with a broadband modem and a cellular service provider subscription, that is traveling on a bus through the city is on mobile Internet.
A mobile broadband modem “tethers” the smartphone to one or more computers or other end user devices to provide access to the Internet via the protocols that cellular telephone service providers may offer.
According to BuzzCity, mobile internet increased 30% from Q1 to Q2 2011. The four countries which have advertising impression (?) in total more than 1 billion in one quarter were India, Indonesia, Vietnam and United States. As of July 2012, approximately 10.5% of all Web traffic occurs through mobile devices (up from 4% in December 2010).
Total data consumed by Opera Mini users worldwide from 2006 to mid-2008 in TB
Standards improve the interoperability, usability, and accessibility of mobile web usage.
The Mobile Web Initiative (MWI) was set up by the W3C to develop the best practices and technologies relevant to the mobile Web. The goal of the initiative is to make browsing the Web from mobile devices more reliable and accessible. The main aim is to evolve standards of data formats from Internet providers that are tailored to the specifications of particular mobile devices. The W3C has published guidelines for mobile content, and is addressing the problem of device diversity by establishing a technology to support a repository of device descriptions.
W3C is also developing a validating scheme to assess the readiness of content for the mobile web, through its mobileOK Scheme, which will help content developers to quickly determine if their content is web-ready. The W3C guidelines and mobile OK approach have not been immune from criticism. This puts the emphasis on Adaptation, which is now seen as the key process in achieving the ubiquitous web, when combined with a device description repository.
mTLD, the registry for .mobi, has released a free testing tool called the MobiReady Report (see mobiForge) to analyze the mobile readiness of website. It does a free page analysis and gives a Mobi Ready score. This report tests the mobile-readiness of the site using industry best practices and standards.
Other standards for the mobile web are being documented and explored for particular applications by interested industry groups, such as the use of the mobile web for the purpose of education and training.
The first access to the mobile web was commercially offered in Finland in 1996 on the Nokia 9000 Communicator phone via the Sonera and Radiolinja networks. This was access to the real internet. The first commercial launch of a mobile-specific browser-based web service was in 1999 in Japan when i-mode was launched by NTT DoCoMo.
The .mobisponsored top-level domain was launched specifically for the mobile Internet by a consortium of companies including Google, Microsoft, Nokia, Samsung, and Vodafone. By forcing sites to comply with mobile web standards, .mobi tries to ensure visitors a consistent and optimized experience on their mobile device. However, this domain has been criticized by several big names, including Tim Berners-Lee of the W3C, who claims that it breaks the device independence of the web:
It is fundamentally useful to be able to quote the URI for some information and then look up that URI in an entirely different context. For example, I may want to look up a restaurant on my laptop, bookmark it, and then, when I only have my phone, check the bookmark to have a look at the evening menu. Or, my travel agent may send me a pointer to my itinerary for a business trip. I may view the itinerary from my office on a large screen and want to see the map, or I may view it at the airport from my phone when all I want is the gate number.
Dividing the Web into information destined for different devices, or different classes of user, or different classes of information, breaks the Web in a fundamental way.
I urge ICANN not to create the “.mobi” top level domain.
Advertisers are increasingly using the mobile Web as a platform to reach consumers. The total value of advertising on mobile was 2.2 billion dollars in 2007. A recent study by the Online Publishers Association reported that about one-in-ten mobile Web users said they have made a purchase based on a mobile Web ad, while 23% said they have visited a Web site, 13% said they have requested more information about a product or service and 11% said they have gone to a store to check out a product.
Though Internet access “on the go” provides advantages to many, such as the ability to communicate by email with others and obtain information anywhere, the web, accessed from mobile devices, has many limits, which may vary, depending on the device. However, newer smartphones overcome some of these restrictions. Some problems which may be encountered include:
Small screen size – This makes it difficult or impossible to see text and graphics dependent on the standard size of a desktop computer screen.
Lack of windows – On a desktop computer, the ability to open more than one window at a time allows for multi-tasking and for easy revert to a previous page. Historically on mobile web, only one page could be displayed at a time, and pages could only be viewed in the sequence they were originally accessed. However, Opera Mini was among the first allowing multiple windows, and browser tabs have become commonplace but few mobile browsers allow overlapping windows on the screen.
Navigation – Navigation is a problem for websites not optimized for mobile devices as the content area is large, the screen size is small, and there is no scroll wheel orhoverbox feature.
Types of pages accessible – Many sites that can be accessed on a desktop cannot on a mobile device. Many devices cannot access pages with a secured connection, Flash or other similar software, PDFs, or video sites, although as of 2011, this has been changing.
Broken pages – On many devices, a single page as viewed on a desktop is broken into segments, each treated as a separate page. This further slows navigation.
Compressed pages – Many pages, in their conversion to mobile format, are squeezed into an order different from how they would customarily be viewed on a desktop computer.
Size of messages – Many devices have limits on the number of characters that can be sent in an email message.
Cost – the access and bandwidth charges levied by cellphone networks can be high if there is no flat fee per month.
Location of mobile user:
if advertisements reach phone users in private locations, users find them more distressful (Banerjee & Dholakia, 2008)
if the user is abroad the flat fee per month usually does not apply
Situation in which ad reaches user – When advertisements reach users in work-related situations, they may be considered more intrusive than in leisure situations (Banerjee & Dholakia, 2008)
In addition to the limits of the device, there are limits that should be made known to users concerning the interference these devices cause in other electromagnetic technology.