Living with a Samsung Fascinate 3G Android smartphone provides a new window on the world. In such a situation, what will quickly strike you is the almost night and day difference between using the phone as a phone versus browsing the Internet via the smartphone. Very few websites are really mobile friendly to the same level as the basic phone system. This is a problem that website owners must tackle and soon.
The Switch To The Mobile Internet
As Google has pointed out in a recent study, the shift to mobile is so strong that they must do everything they can to help businesses adapt immediately. In the next year or two there will be more traffic on the mobile Internet than occurs on the desktop Internet. Companies must ensure they can dialogue with these mobile Internet users or risk losing access to the majority of their markets. How can they best do this?
The One Web Principle
The World Wide Web Consortium believes that Internet visitors should have a satisfactory viewing experience whatever device they may be using, whether mobile or desktop. To this end, they have developed Mobile Web Best Practices 1.0, which provides Guidelines embodying what they have dubbed the One Web Principle:
One Web means making, as far as is reasonable, the same information and services available to users irrespective of the device they are using. However, it does not mean that exactly the same information is available in exactly the same representation across all devices. The context of mobile use, device capability variations, bandwidth issues and mobile network capabilities all affect the representation.
This is a laudable goal, but as we will see it presents an insuperable challenge. Many people do not realize this for reasons that we will explain.
Making Websites Mobile Friendly
As might be imagined, given the opportunity represented by the Mobile Web, many large companies are investing in a major way to make it all happen. Google is one such company. It has presented advice to webmasters for making websites mobile friendly. However there is an interesting distinction that Google makes:
Google differentiates between traditional mobile cell phones and smartphones. Google has two bots: Googlebot and Googlebot-Mobile. Googlebot crawls desktop-browser type of webpages and content embedded in them and Googlebot-Mobile crawls mobile content.