The Web's leading standards body has launched a ground campaign to promote its mobile Web protocols in the real world. The W3C, or World Wide Web Consortium, on Wednesday announced its Mobile Web Initiative, a new kind of working group that will concentrate on the application of the consortium's existing recommendations for Web content written for mobile devices.
"Mobile access to the Web has been a second-class experience for far too long," Web founding father and W3C director Tim Berners-Lee said in a statement. "MWI recognizes the mobile device as a first-class participant, and will produce materials to help developers make the mobile Web experience worthwhile."
The MWI, first proposed in November, is composed of two working groups. "The Best Practices Working Group" will publish guidelines and best practices for Web content authors. "The Device Description Working Group" will publish a database with descriptions that content authors can use for tailoring their pages to various devices.
The MWI's focus on the actual application of its recommendations, rather than their design, has some precedence within the W3C. The Web Accessibility Initiative, founded in 1997, has focused on education, advocacy and technical development to promote the development of Web content accessible by people with disabilities.
Existing W3C recommendations tailored for use with mobile devices include SVG Mobile Profiles, SMIL Basic Profile and Composite Capability/Preference Profiles, or CC/PP.
Founding sponsors of the MWI include France Telecom, Hewlett-Packard, MobileAware, Segala M Test, Vodafone and Volantis. Companies can become founding sponsors through July 1. The fees are the same as the consortium's regular membership fees.
Finally an initiative I can support too, unlike the sponsored Top Level Domain ".mobi" the ICANN approved as sponsored Top Level Domain late last year.
If the W3C wants some input from a Webmaster, here we go with a suggestion for the Device Description Working Group: add a tag like "mobile" into the browser identification header to make a mobile browser recognition as easy as possible. Than Webmaster can simply use this tag to redirect either to the destop version or to the mobile version (maybe you can also use different classes like mobile1, mobile2, mobile3 for WAP, xHTML, HTML support).
Cheers ~ Arne