Tuesday, May 16th, 2006
Someone from Nokia was at the show last week, and he did a good job and trying to show 100% of the attendees a new phone that had WebKit installed on it.
To manage the small screen the browser allowed you to zoom in and out. The entire page is shown in zoom out mode allowing you to select the area to jump in to.
The back and forward functionality was pretty nice too. When you want to move around in your history a carousel view shows you images of the pages so you know exactly where you are going.
What about usability problems? The Nokia rep was showing how Ajax is breaking his little world. When he moused over on a Netflix-like popup he was unable to move into it without losing the focus and having the popup dissappear. He asked the community what could be done to fix some of these small-screen issues.
I don’t think there are any obvious solutions. Small screens are constraining. The Opera browser does a good job of taking a web page meant for a desktop client and algorythmically calculates where the content is versus the navigation. It takes this and uses CSS to restructure the page into something that makes sense.
This leads to the big questions when working with the mobile web:
- Should I just wait for mobile phones and networks to catch up so they can grok my normal web app?
- Do I just need to bite the bullet and create a mobile version of my application (e.g. BBC.co.uk/mobile). If so, can I get away with a handheld stylesheet to do the job, or do I truly need a full application (the handheld css still requires downloading the full html body for example, and can only do SO much with the app.)
Posted by Dion Almaer at 9:00 am