Week Five

Hands on -> WAP links
Review answers

Non-standard access

Get your hands on a non-standard access device -- something that isn't "a desktop or laptop computer with a browser." A cell phone, maybe, or a WebTV set, or a Palm running Avant Go or the like. An emulator, such as that from Phone.Com or WebTV, is okay too. (See Resources for links.)

Try to use it. Visit several pages.

Post something here about your experiences and how you would design for such a device.

Motorola Timeport, vicariously

I was unable to access such a device but liked the idea of doing it. One of my daughters has a telephone with web access, but she was in the wilds of Maine for the week. So I interviewed her by phone, asked her to describe the experience, limitations and how one would design for it.

First, the screen is tiny and input is one letter at a time via the telephone keypad (A is "2", B is "2 2", D is "3", etc.) so she finds that

    Its use is very limited.
  1. She uses it for AOL instant messaging - but not for extended back and forth, just terse things like "C U at 5" "ok".
  2. She has used it to order a book from Amazon.com, by selecting pre-set menu items
  3. She plays the game "Gladiator" by herself or vs. others online.
  4. She said it's fine for getting tiny data bits, such as a weather report or a stock quote, but useless for most regular web pages.
I have been looking for online instructions for how to write pages in WML. I am posting here some links I found in the course of my search that may be useful to others. I will post these on the resources section too.

WAP emulator | WAP Prototype maker | Developer tools | "WAP/WML got pushed into the oven well before the dough was fully risen" a review | Anywhere you Go.com | |

WAP definition

The Wireless Application Protocol is a secure specification that allows users to access information instantly via handheld wireless devices such as mobile phones, pagers, two-way radios, smartphones and communicators.

WAP supports most wireless networks. These include CDPD, CDMA, GSM, PDC, PHS, TDMA, FLEX, ReFLEX, iDEN, TETRA, DECT, DataTAC, and Mobitex.

Essay question

Actually, this probably should just be "review question", as there's only one. This is an essay question, so feel free to write as much as you like. Remember, though, this isn't a writing class, so what you write is really what's important, not how you write it. You should probably write a few paragraphs, though.

Here's the question:

It's 2011, and things have come a long way in the last 10 years. There are new internet-enabled devices -- both for general access and for specific tasks -- which you never dreamed of back in 2001 when you took Kynn Bartlett's Accessible Web Design course. You use these in your daily life for a variety of tasks. What is one of the devices you're using, which didn't exist in 2001? Does it have a specific dedicated task, such as an i-pot teapot? Or is it a general purpose mini-computer, like a PocketPC or Palm, for surfing the web? What does it do, and how do you use it?

If it's a general device, how does someone design content for it? What would a web designer have to keep in mind if trying to serve up something for that device?

Be creative as you like; there are no wrong answers, after all. Feel free to patent your idea before posting. ;)

Memory aide

As middle age creeps up, inability to recall things easily becomes more of a problem.

An implanted (human) memory chip could be quite useful. In more lucid moments I could enter items to my computer calendar and then upload them to a secure server from whch the mind chip could pull information whenever I was drawing a blank.

A few trusted family members could also upload items to the mindchip server. The user would experience this like a memory of a family member speaking: "Don't forget to pay your cable bill, Ma!"

The mindchip would access the server by existing wireless technology. It could be activated by any user-entered prompt (such as a slap on the forehead and the words "Oh no, I forgot!").

The persons authorized to add content for someone's memory chip would be identified by their voices. Each person would initially enter voice samples the computer would use not only for identifying the accesser, but also for output to the implanted memory chip. Aural style sheets would identify not a theoretical voice ("Paul," deep voice) but an actual one based on his or her voice sample.