When WAPathy strikes

In a startling revelation, Argogroup says it has discovered why everyone hates WAP: the sites are all rubbish.

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By  Jon Tullett Published  October 2, 2001

Research by wireless experts Argogroup has suggested why WAP is such a dismal failure; not only do consumers not care for the services, but most of the sites are unusable anyway.

Argogroup conducts periodic studies of several WAP sites, and breaks down its results in terms of compliance and usability. It's most recent research, at the end of September, examined 992 URLs. Of these, exactly zero were fully compliant to WAP standards.

That is a strict measurement - many sites can cut the odd corner and still get away with a workable site, but it gets worse the more you look at the numbers. Argogroup said that only 43% - 428 sites - returned valid WML code at all that would work "on some WAP devices." Every single one of these displayed interoperability issues, and only 8% of these were fully usable.

In other words, 84 out of 992 WAP sites are usable. That is beyond pathetic, and perhaps reflects the fact that consumers and service providers alike are not taking the platform particularly seriously.

Of the 992, 117 failed to connect, 378 failed to return a valid HTML header, 431 failed to return a valid WAP MIME identifier, 430 returned documents with no data, 525 offered a malformed XML header, and 528 returned invalid WML.

David Frodsham, CEO of Argogroup, summarises: "Consumer dissatisfaction with the multi-channel Internet is being caused by basic errors in the content creation process."

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