Can you browse me now?
Smart-phones and other web-enabled mobile devices are fast becoming ubiquitous on campus. We know they’re used to access and interact with university websites and online applications. Everyone from undergrads to research faculty to cabinet-level managers have embraced personal mobile technology.
Unfortunately, today the mobile experience on too many Stanford websites “isn’t there yet” and so we suspect many users are giving up trying from their smart-phones and just waiting to get to a laptop or desktop computer.
What to do?
That’s where the Stanford University Mobile Aware Web Project comes in. Recent developments in web standards and technologies now make it possible to make websites that display optimally on mobile browsers — so that the function and experience nearly matches that of a “native” app installed on the device itself.
Benefits of “Mobile Web”
- Developers and designers can code sites and applications just once to display on a modern web browser, mobile or desktop: no need to do the extra work of coding apps for different devices/platforms.
- The “mobile first” approach to building websites incorporates principles and techniques that also address standards and requirements for online accessibility.
- Web-available resources can integrate directly and securely with local web authentication infrastructures.
- Users don’t have to download/update/use a unique, single-purpose application … which means you get the latest version of content and applications every time you go to the website and you don’t have to deal with “App Stores” or downloading hassles.
Working together …
There is strong interest at Stanford in making web resources mobile aware. University Communications, Student Affairs, and IT Services are just three of many organizations seeking to embark on projects to achieve this goal for some of their websites and web-ready content. By approaching this effort collaboratively and agreeing to co-sponsor a formal project now, we have the opportunity to lead future efforts in the right direction as the broader community starts working to address this growing demand.
Establishing standards and “giving back”
Through the work of making specific “reference sites” mobile aware, this project also intends to create a library of Stanford standards and other reference resources that the rest of the community can leverage to most effectively and appropriately make their web resources mobile aware.