Beyond Policies For The Mobile Web
Posted by Brian Kelly (UK Web Focus) on 13 July 2011
Over 50% Web Traffic to Mobile Devices Predicted
The UKOLN/CETIS survey on Institutional Use of the Mobile Web aims to provide the sector with a better understanding of institutional plans for exploiting the potential of the Mobile Web. The importance of such institutional planning can be gauged from as Pew Internet report on Smartphone Adoption and Usage released on Monday which found that 35% of US adults own smartphones with 87% of the smartphone owners accessing the Internet or email on their handheld, including two-thirds (68%) who do so on a typical day.
As mentioned in the full report in response to a request to provide a single word that best describes how they feel about their phones 72% of smartphone owners used a positive word (such as “good”, “great”, “excellent” or “convenient”) to describe their phones.
Unlike the PC environment (dominated by MS Windows thought with a significant monitory of Apple Macintosh users) there is more diversity in smartphone platforms, with 35% of smartphone owners having an Android device, 24% owning an iPhone, a Blackberry, 2% a Windows phone and 2% a Palm device.
In addition, as described in an article published in the Washington Post, it also seems that according to figures provided by Cisco, the Internet network equipment maker, 63% of all Web traffic is currently from computers and 37% from mobile devices but by 2015 the figures are estimated to be 46% computers and 54% mobile.
Quite clearly institutions will need to do some careful thinking and planning on how they will engage with an environment in which the majority of usage with be from a mobile device (and it may be that usage in the University sector, with the large number of young people who will own mobile devices, could be even greater than these figures taken from a cross-section of the US population.
We therefore encourage those working in the higher education sector (in the UK and beyond) to complete the survey on Institutional Use of the Mobile Web in order to help provide a batter picture of how the sector is responding to this rapidly-changing environment.
Training for Developers
Whilst institutions will be developing their strategies for engaging with the Mobile Web there will also be a need for developers to gain expertise in technical approaches for implementing strategic decisions. If decisions are made to support open standards for mobile applications in order to minimise development costs across a variety of mobile (and desktop) platforms then developing skills in HTML5, CSS and related aspects under the W3C’s Open Web Platform will be desirable. Yesterday the W3C announced that Registration Opens for W3C Training on Mobile Web and Application Best Practices (starts September).
This online course will last 8 week, from 5 September to 28 October 2011. The course has been developed and taught by the W3C/MobiWebApp team and is based entirely on W3C standards, particularly the Mobile Web Best Practices and Mobile Web Application Best Practices, which aim to ensure that Web content available to as wide an audience as possible. The full price of the course is €195 but we have a limited number of places available at the early bird rate of €145. See the W3C Web site for further details.