Internet Must Change for Mobile Use
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The internet was still an infant in 1990, when Tim Berners-Lee envisioned a global network for his company, CERN. Growing beyond simple HTML he'd designed, he could have hardly expected pages to become so complex. Now they are image heavy and plugin demanding, requiring programs like Java or Flash to even use. But has web design become too complicated or demanding? Tim Berners-Lee asked this question when he spoke about current web design preventing mobile users from using most websites.
When the web was still being popularized (on computer hardware that now looks very limited), browsers were stuck at monitors' low resolutions in the realm of 640x480. Web designers had to keep file sizes down for 14k modem users. Has web design has gotten out of hand, with designers getting away with excessive file sizes (thanks to broadband use) and crowded pages whose 5 columns barely fit on high resolution monitors? Perhaps it’s time to consider reducing some of those overburdened websites. Some reduction is really necessary when you consider the typical resolution for a mobile device is 240x320, a tiny fraction of the resolution you are likely reading this article on.
Berners-Lee said, “Web designers have learned to design for the visually impaired and for other people. They will learn in a few years how to make web sites available for people with mobile devices, too.” He was speaking of the style sheet technology that now allows people, in case they may be blind or deaf, to access the internet through Braille and through voice. This accomplishment may seem far greater than adapting websites to fit on a small mobile device with limited screen space and throughput.
The problem is that it means web developers must make yet another provision, and many companies don't yet see an advantage to it. They don’t have nearly enough patrons reaching them on mobile devices yet to make it worthwhile. “It is a chicken or egg thing,” Tim Berners-Lee commented, “just like originally when the Web became the Web. Nobody asked for Web clients or Web servers…you have to get enough people to understand the potential returns.”
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