updated 11:30 am EST, Fri January 28, 2011
W3C readies standard for web UI on phones, tablets
The W3C standards group today put out a draft of a standard for using touchscreen devices on the web. Touch Events would have a page react depending on conditions unique to the mouse-free environment, such as whether or or more fingers are in contact with the screen, dragging across the screen or entering a certain part of the page. The format can also factor in the width of the contact point, such as a hand, and can work with pressure-sensitive touchscreens.
The format, edited by Doug Schepers, uses Apple's Safari and WebKit approaches as a starting point and has mostly added things like pressure to accommodate different kinds of touchscreens. As a draft, the Touch Events spec is still distant from being finalized and incorporated into the official W3C standards.
Adoption of the technology could be critical to web apps translating to touch-only devices. While most web actions work properly on a phone or tablet, it's currently impossible to hover over an element or to use multi-touch gestures specific to a website. One of the primary hurdles that led to Apple at least initially rejecting Flash was the absence of Flash content optimized for tablets. Most Flash games and some videos either assume a mouse and keyboard are present or have elements that are too small for fingers. [via CNET]