WAP Page Design


WAP has been last the year’s ubiquitous buzzword and, even if mobile services are more and more common today, not all of them gain wide acceptance. Some fail in the marketplace, often because users find them too difficult to use. Mobile users have little patience for learning how to operate new services. They don't focus on their device in the same way as they are sitting in front of their desktop computer. While on the move, they look to accomplish a single task in a short amount of time and consequently they tend to use applications that allow both quick manipulations of the interface and a reduction in number of steps to access to the information.

Due to significant design limitations - small screens for displaying content and limited multifunctional keypads making data input hard - mobile service designers have to learn new ways of thinking about the presentation of information. Designing an effective user interface for mobile applications on a restricted screen space is hard and this is rapidly becoming a major issue for both mobile service providers and communication devices companies.

Aims of the Tutorial

In this tutorial you will learn how to design effective user interfaces for mobile services, including:

Learning Objectives

The main elements taught by the tutorial are:


The tutorial is a combination of lecture, pen-paper exercises and group discussion. Activities, presentation techniques, tutorial benefits and target audience are detailed as following:


The instructor will attempt to formulate comprehensives design rules for developing highly usable applications that run on WAP browsers. These rules have been validated through designer experience and user studies. Both limitations and requirements of mobile service design will be discussed. Practical examples of WAP interfaces will be shown. Various situations and possibilities will be considered.

Pen-paper exercises and group discussion

During the exercise session, participants will perform the same set of tasks by team. They will start with a brief usability inspection of a WAP application. They will judge whether the different interaction elements follow established usability principles. A debriefing group session will be conducted where different usability issues will be pinpointed and possible solutions discussed. The exercise material will be a paper-based demo of a WAP site, which will let the user search “online” for new and used cars at dealers throughout the Europe.

Lecture Material