Mobile seems to be where the future is and the W3C (news, site) is guiding us there with its latest set of guidelines and best practices.

Improving the Mobile Web

Developing for the mobile Web requires a scalpel-edged approach to design and function and the World Wide Web Consortium is on the case when it comes to building accessible, functional sites. As part of the Mobile Web Initiative, the latest update adds more interpretations and examples of best practices that can be used to create the best possible sites.

The chartered research comes from people in the industry working for mobile provider companies, mobile resource sites and designers. For the very basics of a mobile site, you can check that your site passes the 10 Basic Tests,  beyond that reading and learning the advice within the report adds both knowledge and insight into preparing sites for mobile users. But, if you think W3C is just there for the basics, head over here for guidance on how to outwit one of Apple's more outrageous mobile patents.

Learning Opportunities

Design In Tight Spaces

So, what's in and out in mobile web design? Some of it is obvious, such as "Informational content should be provided in a manner suitable for access on mobile, i.e. with an eye to quick assimilation by the user, rather than in a verbose style." Also, using graphics, even blanks pixels for spacing content is definitely out, with CSS recommended to do the job.

At a more practical level, the report recommends complete sites should be checked to see scrolling isn't required if only decorative elements are off the screen. Also, avoid using long lists of links where devices might not have stylus or finger input, a nudge to the many millions still browsing the Web on last generation phones.