Saturday, September 23, 2006


It seems like only yesterday that I rolled out the text-only version of the blog. Actually, it was Wednesday (http://sumocat.blogspot.com/2006/09/sumocats-scribbles-text-edition.html). Since then, I figured out a way to tweak the system to create a version of the blog that drops the ink but retains the rest of its HTML and a plain text version for phone web browsers. Why two alternate versions? Let me explain.

The initial thought behind the text edition was to create a mobile-friendly version of the site. Unfortunately, this method using FeedBurner BuzzBoost (http://www.feedburner.com/fb/a/publishers/buzzboost) alone didn't cut it. It used JavaScript that was not readable by my mobile phone web browser. Enter Google (http://www.google.com/gwt/n).

Amongst Google's many services is a little known one that "mobile-izes" web pages. While my phone can't read the FeedBurner JavaScript, Google's "mobilizer" can, translating the page into a version viewable on any mobile web browser (http://www.google.com/gwt/n?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.markandtanya.us%2Fscribbles%2Fmobile.html).

Furthermore, while the mobile version is plain text, there are links back to the original pages, which are also "mobilized". Thus, if you want to follow one of my links (or just want to view a tiny version of my ink), you can click over to the ink page and surf though my text links. Any page you visit will also be "mobilized", through no telling how well they'll turn out.

So the mobile edition works out great. Why then do I also have an Inkless Edition (http://www.markandtanya.us/scribbles/)? Aren't they the same? I admit, they are very similar, but unlike the mobile edition, the ink-free version has a secondary purpose: accessibility.

The Inkless Edition (http://www.markandtanya.us/scribbles/) uses the full HTML in my RSS feed, which includes all the ink and hyperlinks. Working a little CSS magic, I suppressed the ink to create a very clean text page that retains all the hyperlinks. Initially I wanted to use this for the mobile version, but Google's rendering kills the ink suppression, resulting in a cluttered mess.

Anyway, this version appears just fine on my Pocket PC. Presumably it will also work on any JavaScript-enabled browser. I recommend it for any PDA or Pocket PC equipped readers. It is a more robust mobile option for mobile web browsers that are more robust. If it doesn't work, the page includes a link to the text-only mobile edition.

This brings me to the secondary purpose of accessibility. A very legitimate criticism about ink blogging (http://www.makeyougohmm.com/20060809/3650/) is that it cannot be read by the visually impaired. Yes, I know they can't read text either, but there is software that can read it to them, if there is text to read.

Now, I could re-work the blog to make the text always visible instead of only on demand. But it would still be a second-class citizen on an ink blog with a visual design scheme. The Inkless Edition presents a clean straightforward format that I'm sure will be easier to navigate. Unlike a plain text version, this edition includes hyperlinks, so there's no need to jump back to the ink page to hunt for links, and I've read that visually impaired users navigate by tabbing from link to link. Hopefully this version does the job well enough. Feedback is appreciated.


Shoutback: Make You Go Hmm: ยป Hmm quickies #36: dreaming of Jeannies
Sumocat's Scribbles: Mobile Edition
Sumocat's Scribbles: Inkless Edition
CateGoogles: Ink Blogging
Creating the Blog
mobile_tech
Mood = serious

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Mobile & Inkless Editions


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