Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Mobile Simple Syndication - Mobile Friendly RSS

In an earlier blog we discussed the advantages of RSS feeds as a way to convey a lot of information, like news headlines, to a mobile phone. They work well when we want to quickly glance at news, sports or blog headlines and read a short summary or see a picture. But there the mobile friendliness often ends. When we click for the full story we are taken to a full website. If we are talking about a blog, that is fine as we get the text we are looking for. But news or other media sites often take us to full websites filled with tabs, columns, ads and combinations of flash and java-script. Even browsers on today’s high end smart phones have problems finding the relevant story among these full web pages of information. There is a problem with RSS usability depth on mobile phones.

This is understandable as RSS feeds were developed to deliver Real Simple Syndication feeds from regular web sites that take us to these sites when we click on the feed. Will this mobile usability depth problem be solved when all phones can handle regular web pages? Most likely not as web browsers and web pages keep improving as fast or faster than mobile phone browsers. Unless we believe that PC and Internet innovation will come to a sudden stop so that the mobile phone world can catch up, mobile phones will be a couple of steps behind the innovation curve. Does this mean that RSS feeds will always have limited usability depth on mobile phones? Not necessarily.

If we develop a standard for Mobile Simple Syndication - MSS where we are taken to a mobile friendly sites instead of a full web site the problem is solved. If implemented, MSS will revolutionize how we deliver mobile web information to the phone and make it usable on all phones!

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