Archive for the ‘Mobile Web Design’ Category

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Long URLs are difficult to remember and hard to pass along. URL shortening is a popular technique where a web user can make a web page available under a very short URL in addition to the original address. These URL shortening services are helpful if your web addresses for your web site and blog site start to get long and links will break when sending in an email. Particularly, these services are important for Twitter users since Twitter allows for only 140 characters in any message.

Today, many Web services offer URL redirection with real-time link tracking.  Most of these sites shorten Web addresses quickly and easily, with no registration required.  Here are my selected 10 sites that allow you to shorten, share, and track your links:

Though URL shortening service is a helpful tool, users need to keep in mind that spammers have also used URL shortening services to cover their tracks. So, it is important to use a reliable URL shortening service that provides the filtering of all shortened links through services like Google Safe Browsing.

What URL shortening services do you use?  Please feel free to share your favorite URL shortening services and provide your comments.

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Today, we have entered an era in which mobile technology is fundamentally changing our culture and impacting every aspect of our lives, including education and training.  By age 21, the average of digital natives will have spent over 10,000 hours on cell phones.   More than 1.5 billion mobile phones are used in the world today, with a half a billion new ones sold every year.  This is more than three times the number of personal computers (PCs), and today’s most sophisticated cell phones have the computing power of a mid-1990’s PC.  So, the mobile education revolution is finally here.  Over 90% of college students now own a cell phone.  Despite what some may consider cell phones’ limitations, students are already inventing ways to use their phones to learn what they want to know.

For the past five years, I have engaged in several mobile learning (m-learning) research projects involving personal digital assistants (PDA), ipods, and other mobile handheld devices.  I have great interest in mobile learning and believe it will be a major extension of e-learning.   I want to continue my research effort in mobile learning focusing on the use of cell phone technology.  Currently, the research in the design and testing of a learning support system using a cell phone is very limited.  I would like to join many researchers in the research institutions and giant corporations like Nokia and Ericsson to conduct research on the use of a cell phone in education and training.

My current (CPLSS) project is attempted to deliver instructional content and learning materials in way that fits into students’ cell phones – their digital lives.  The CPLSS is designed to work with many cell phones, smartphones, or PDA phones and will have four major modules: Java book, Web book, audio book, and video book.  The Java book is a small Java program which runs in the cell phone to display any textual information.  It will be used mainly for displaying the course syllabus, schedule, lecture notes, assignments, quizzes, or other learning materials.  The Web book is actually a mobile Web site displayed in a standard HTML or WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) on a cell phone.  The Web book will be used to retrieve course materials online through a special mobile Web site.  It is designed for a Web-enable cell phone.  The audio book is designed to play recorded lectures, class news, podcasts, digital audio books, interviews with guest experts, or language lessons in MP3 format. Finally, the video book will be used to play instructional videos or demonstrations in 3gp or mp4 format. Both audio and video recordings will be placed online for distribution, downloaded to the cell phone, and then played in the phone when the learner wants to listen or view.  The CPLSS system will enable professors or trainers to provide the course syllabus, class schedule, assignments, quizzes, and other learning materials (in text, audio, and video formats) to students on a cell phone.  The CPLSS project is currently under development.  Hopefully, I will be able to field test the CPLSS in my classes next year.

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Mobile phones and Personal digital assistants (PDAs) are changing the way people access and work with information. These devices are becoming smaller, cheaper, better, and more connected. Mobile phones and PDAs may just become the mobile computing technology that revolutionizes the face of learning. These mobile devices give students wireless connectivity while expanding where educational computing can take place to the home, field, and any places. The ability of accessing Web sites using mobile browsers allows students convenient access to course Web pages, syllabus, tutorials, magazines, newspapers, and reference materials on their mobile devices. This access, along with basic search capabilities, provides many learning opportunities for students that would generally not be possible or efficient before.

Today, there are 1.5 billion mobile devices in the world, more than three times the number of PCs. As the mobile devices increase capabilities and networks get faster, users are using mobile devices more and more for common computing and information gathering tasks.

Making educational Website friendly to mobile devices is worth serious consideration. If a Web site is set up correctly, the same pages will be compatible with conventional desktop/laptop browsers and mobile browsers. Designing an effective, mobile-friendly, educational Web site requires careful planning and basic knowledge of Web design and development for mobile devices. When designing a Web site for mobile devices it is even more important to work out the site design before dealing with individual pages. As compared with desktop Web design and development, site development for mobile devices force Web designers to work within fairly tight constraints: access speed, file size, memory space, mobile browser, screen size, page length, font, graphics, multimedia, and form. Web designers must deal with these design constraints and decide the trade-offs. For example, it is important to decide what information is essential and then present that information in a manner that is clear, concise, efficient, and easy to navigate. In addition, given the smaller screens of mobile devices, Web designers should avoid including more than one topic onto the same page. It is important to strike a balance between the depth of the page hierarchy and the length of the individual pages.

Currently, there are several technical guidelines for mobile Web developers and designers available online for guidance and tips. Microsoft creates pages for designers of Pocket PC: Designing Web Sites for Internet Explorer for Pocket PCs. mTLD (mobile Top Level Domain) published the DotMobi Mobile Web Developer’s Guide in March 2007, a comprehensive guide to mobile web development. Both these publications detail layout considerations, image production, multimedia and HTML support. In addition, the W3C, the leading consortium for the World Wide Web, launched the Mobile Web Imitative (MWI) that is focusing on developing “best practices” and a trustmark “mobileOK” for Web sites in May 2005. The “mobileOK” allows Web authors to check their mobile sites whether they are conformance to the W3C Mobile Web Best Practices. Also, The Mobile Web Best Practices Working Group released the First Public Working Draft of “Mobile Web Best Practices 1.0” in November, 2006. The document specifies best practice for making Web access from a mobile device as simple, easy and convenient as Web access from a desktop device.

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