Today a Web site is only as valuable as it is productive. Users need sites that are easy to use and helpful. The sites that are not, lose their visitors interest quickly and can cost companies loyal customers. This is even more of an issue when users might be coming to a site via a wireless device. Not only do designers have to consider different platforms and browsers when designing sites, now they need to consider different devices and user agents for viewing with those devices. So how do you design a site that is effective on all these devices? You begin by knowing your users and understanding how and why your content is accessed. From there you can address the needs of your specific users and design accordingly. The goals of The Wireless Web Usability Handbook are threefold: provide designers with a new awareness of the ways that pervasive computing affects how humans interact; give designers an understanding of the problems and risks involved with this new generation of devices; provide the tools to ensure that the content designers create for pervasive computing devices is usable. These and other valuable guidelines are provided here in a pragmatic style that clarifies what designers really need to think about when designing Web sites for current and next generation devices and applications.
Wireless designers face the challenge of achieving their vision in the limited environment offered by devices like cell phones and PDAs. Recommended for all public libraries, Usability Handbook modifies advice found in web usability guides (see Computer Media, LJ 5/1/02) for the wireless environment, focusing on how wireless devices work and how best to design for them. Chapter summaries and discussion questions aid understanding; the CD-ROM includes WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) emulators and templates. Larger public libraries can consider the next two guides: for beginning wireless developers, WAP 2.0 discusses developing with WAP, then moves on to more advanced topics such as WMLScript, ASP, and connecting to databases. For more advanced developers, Wireless Java teaches wireless application development through step-by-step examples. The CD-ROM contains sample code. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Mark Pearrow (Dedham, MA) is a sponsored research staff member at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory in Cambridge, MA. His current research is in the area of Technology, Psychology, and Society. He is also the author of the first edition of the Web Site Usability Handbook and The Wireless Web Usability Handbook (Charles River Media).