TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Web Design Hampers Mobile Internet, Pioneer Says

Web Design Hampers Mobile Internet, Pioneer Says

Lisa Minter (
17 Mar 2005 16:22:22 -0800

By Daniel Frykholm

TAMPERE, Finland (Reuters) - A mass market exists for the mobile
Internet, but it will remain untapped until designers make simpler Web
pages that can be viewed properly on handsets, the inventor of the
World Wide Web said.

"(The mobile Internet) will be a huge enabler for the industry ... and
for big profits," Tim Berners-Lee told a seminar on Thursday on the
future of the Web.

"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 said.

Berners-Lee invented the Web in 1990 while working at European
particle-physics lab CERN in Geneva, trying to make it easier for
fellow scientists to share information and collaborate over the

While his invention has revolutionized the way people across the globe
work and communicate, repeated attempts by mobile device makers and
operators to lure users with mobile Internet access have failed.

"Everyone was supposed to be browsing the Web with their mobile phone,
but the problem is that it has not happened," Berners-Lee said, adding
later this was not a question of weak demand.

"It is a chicken or egg thing, 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," he
told Reuters on the sidelines of the seminar.

Berners-Lee's original vision of the Web was as a resource for
collaboration. He said that so far it had been "a big disappointment"
in this respect, although exceptions such as "wikis" -- essentially
interactive online note pads -- showed its potential.

"Wikis in general are great examples of how people want to be creative
and not just suck in information," he told the seminar, pointing to
the online encyclopedia Wikipedia as the most advanced development in
this area.

Information on the Wikipedia ( can be edited
by the site's users. The Web page currently shows around 500,000

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