Communications, Internet firms agree on rules for mobile Web sites

Some of the world's top wireless and Internet companies, including Nokia, Vodafone, and Google, have agreed on a set of Web site development guidelines aimed at making it easier to surf the Internet on mobile phones, a Reuters report said.

Quoted by Reuters, researcher M:Metrics said majority of mobile phones today had Web browsers as wireless providers hoped to expand beyond voice services. However, only about 19% of US mobile phone users regularly used the Web on their phones.

The Reuters report said the Worldwide Web Consortium, a group backed by 30 industry players, hoped to improve on this percentage by creating 60 guidelines for developers to design sites that were easy to use on cellphones, which had much smaller screens and tiny keypads.

The guidelines advised developers against using big graphics or pop-up ads that could clutter phone screens, the report said. They also suggested designing sites in such a way that the content appeared right at the top of a mobile phone screen, allowing users to avoid scrolling past multiple navigation links.

The Reuters report further said the guidelines also steered developers away from using cookies, which stored information on the viewer's computer to help Web sites remember user preferences, enabling speedier navigation.