It's been 15 years since the first time we could use the internet on our mobiles. The Nokia 7110 and WAP.... How much times have changed.
We have been talking about how to best use the internet on our pocket devices since then, and in lots of ways it has become easier, with much faster operating systems and larger more attractive screens. However, the ability of the iphone and its peers has also led us to forget the important thinking, constraints and rules that WAP gave us, and so our customer experiences are not as good as they should be.
Rule 1: You have to be truly 'Mobile First'
It wasn't about taking the desktop site and taking bits off to make it mobile, the WAP phone had some serious restrictions which made for much simpler user experiences.
We could only build a page to maximum of 1.5kb...average homepages are now 500kb, so we have abused the capabilities of improved mobile technology.
Rule 2: True MVP (Minimal viable product)
Because of the device restrictions, only the most valuable things were created for the first WAP phones. We had to limit to absolutely maximum 3 clicks (if it had been longer the user might have well have driven home to their own desktop to use the internet)
Rule 3: Value focused
WAP forced us to only focus on the Value, the essential, there was no need for adverts, pointless text or about us pages... why? Because it wasn't needed or important to someone accessing a site whilst they were out and about!
The top lesson:
Bring back 1999 thinking -- but let's not bring back the tech!!