Thursday, June 29, 2006

Idea [#5] - Microformats and Mobile Registration

I've been thinking about security and logins for mobiles and peeling away the conventions that we use on the desktop. I wanted to see if there is something else that can be done that will work better for mobiles. From recent articles the future mobile usage will be the primary means in which emerging markets and eventually everyone will interact with the web.

In this vain i've been trying to make sure that on Wampad you don't need to use a desktop to configure the site. My first "concern" is registration, should I just keep the fields down to the bare minimum and give the user the ability to add more if they want.

As more serivces for mobiles come online the requirement for registration to use these services will increase. I can see this being a pain for mobile users, it's a pain for me on the desktop as it is :).

As an example, you see a poster with a url or QRcode that takes you to a website, but before you can use the information they promised you need to register to access it. Now you have to decide if you are going to fill out the 5 field form or just forget it. Even worse you have to wait until you get home so you can register on your desktop machine becuase they need the 10+ fields but didn't want to burden you with typing that in on the phone.

Now here's where microformats can come into play. Kind of in the vain of Openid you could provide a url where your hCard is and the service your registering for will pull in the information it needs and all you need to do is specify a user id and password. Pretty much all the personal data they could ask can be stored in hCard format. Heck, it's even got a area for a photo that all the web 2.0 site want you to upload. I would suggest that if this is going to happen the service would show the user what data they want to use so that the user can ok it.

I was also thinking that for users who don't have a url with an hCard, someone could build a microformats server that could host hCard as well as other formats. If it's standard the users could enter in an short code that could translate to a url like and all the user would have to enter is wampad.

Microformats could be used for a number of things in the mobile world. With Nokia's idea of a web server on a phone the service could get your hCard directly from your phone, so all you would need is to provide the phone number. Maybe the caller id information of the future is pulled via the callers hCard on their phone's web server.


At 8:18 AM, Anonymous charlie said...

nokia has the 'wallet' application to store such info and fill out fields easily. there were standards for that in wapdom to make the wapsite more intelligent. like all good ideas, this one died of neglect.

i think simple authentication via sms is sufficient for most purposes. why do we need to fill out so much when most of the time we just want to register someone real.

what do you think?

At 1:22 PM, Blogger Shawn McCollum said...

I hadn't heard of the wallet application from nokia, but I also haven't come across a nokia phone here in the states.

Authentication via sms is good for mobile purposes but I'll need to provide multiple ways because I want desktop users to be able to use it also. I see multiple levels of authentication for wampad. First will be a unique token passed with a url via either a text message or maybe even a 2d code. This will let you in and allow you to view your options and customizations, but you will not be able to modify anything. To modify you'll then need to supply a password or pin code. For registration I'm looking at as steps, first you provide x, y, and z. As you use the site and want specific information you'll provide a, b, c ...


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