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< Contents ERCIM News No. 62, July 2005

Launch of the W3C Mobile Web Initiative

Today, mobile Web access suffers from interoperability and usability problems. Browsing the Web from a mobile device is not as convenient as expected. Users often find that their favorite Web sites are not accessible or not as easy to use on their mobile phone as on their desktop computer. Content providers have difficulties building Web sites that work well on all types and configurations of mobile phones offering Web access.

On 11 May 2005, W3C launched the Mobile Web Initiative (W3C-MWI) to make browsing the Web from mobile devices a reality. “Mobile access to the Web has been a second class experience for far too long,” explained Tim Berners-Lee, W3C Director. “MWI recognizes the mobile device as a first class participant, and will produce materials to help developers make the mobile Web experience worthwhile.”

Mobile Web Initiative participants will initially focus on the two areas ‘best practices’ and ‘mobile device descriptions’. The Mobile Web Best Practices Working Group (MWBP WG) is chartered to develop authoring guidelines, checklists and best practices to help content providers to develop Web content that works well on mobile devices. The Device Description Working Group (DD WG) is chartered to address the development of improved device description solutions, that is, a database of descriptions that can be used by content authors to adapt their content to a particular device.

W3C is already active in the mobile Web space, developing Web standards for multimodal interaction and device-independent design, as well as profiles for mobile devices; related standards include XHTML, SVG Mobile Profiles, and the SMIL Basic Profile. MWI work will complement these current efforts. MWI is also chartered to establish cooperative ties with related groups, including the Open Mobile Alliance (OMA) and 3GPP. These ties will help ensure that the needs of users are well-defined and that the efforts of the MWI and these related groups are complementary.

W3C is pleased to welcome the Founding Sponsors of the Mobile Web Initiative: Afilias,, Drutt Corporation, Ericsson, France Telecom, HP, Jataayu Software, MobileAware, Nokia, NTT DoCoMo, Opera Software, TIM Italia, Segala M Test, Sevenval, RuleSpace, V-Enable, Vodafone and Volantis. Participation in MWI-sponsored W3C Working Groups is open to all organizations.

Mobile Web Initiative:
Mobile Web Initiative Sponsorship Program: