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Going Mobile

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mobile phones

Mobile devices are quickly becoming ubiquitous around the world and the resulting usage of the "Mobile Internet" is rapidly increasing, as is the need for Web sites that serve up content on the small screen efficiently and effectively. Organizations that ignore this trend will miss opportunities to capture and keep users engaged. Gartner Inc. predicts that mobile phones will overtake PCs as the most common Web access device worldwide by 2013 (http://www.gartner.com/it/page.jsp?id=1278413). Communications’ site will be making changes to better accommodate mobile users of portable platforms like smartphones, tablet PCs, and e-readers.

Web content designed for full-sized displays can sit poorly on mobile screens, and mobile networks and hardware may "present challenges for taking advantage of the conveniences of mobile devices for information access," according to Dongsong Zhang, writing in "Web Content Adaption for Mobile Handheld Devices" (http://cacm.acm.org/magazines/2007/2/5729) in the February 2007 issue of Communications (http://cacm.acm.org/magazines/2007/2). Zhang discusses content adaptation, which the World Wide Web Consortium specifies in a set of best practices for delivering Web content on mobile devices (http://www.w3.org/TR/mobile-bp/). Indeed, Communications’ site complies with W3C guidelines where applicable.

Communications’ site performs ably on today’s leading mobile systems. Content presentation is uncluttered and top articles are accessed simply on a Black-Berry, one user says, and Apple’s multitouch interface makes it easy to select and enlarged articles with a few pokes and gestures on an iPhone. However, support for these and other mobile devices will be improved.

Another planned improvement for the site, following the lead of the larger Web, involves the greater use of multimedia content, especially video. Cisco Systems estimates that Internet video will account for over 60% of all consumer Internet traffic in 2013, and that all forms of video will account for 91% (http://newsroom.cisco.com/dlls/2009/prod_060909.html). Cisco hints at needed improvements to get mobile services, networks, and systems ready for video traffic. For its part, Communications’ site will be ready for mobile readers.

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