A pilot study on mobile services: evaluating whether transcoding extracts the most relevant information

Hanekom, J. & Weideman, M.

Published Online

Hanekom, J. & Weideman, M. 2007. A pilot study on mobile services: evaluating whether transcoding extracts the most relevant information. ICT Research Forum No. 3, 75-87. Faculty of Informatics and Design, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Cape Town. ISSN: 1814-9812.

Background. Some mobile devices can access the Internet, but screen display size is a major restriction, due to size limitations. Different solutions have been developed to overcome this problem. The first uses a transcoding server which accesses the original site and converts standard HTML (Hypertext Mark-up Language) pages to WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) pages. The second approach uses a specific browser that runs on the mobile platform and displays the site in a vertical format. The most popular approach is the transcoding server, for specific usability issues. Aim. A study was done to determine whether or not relevant information is lost during the content filtering and extraction phase. Method. The study was done using a qualitative approach. Results. The study shows that the more complex a webpage is, the more difficult it becomes for the algorithm to extract relevant information. This is especially true when accessing e-commerce sites, which traditionally contain complex structures. Conclusions. For designers to support both the traditional PC platform and mobile devices, a guideline would be to keep a webpage as simple as possible. It was shown during the study that text based sites are easily converted.
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