TIME Magazine

 Time Mobile Image TIME was the first newsweekly magazine in the US and before the rise of the web diminished its influence, being on the cover of TIME generated immediate nationwide celebrity or notoriety - the cover subjects weren't always the good guys. While not much attention is paid anymore to the weekly cover person, TIMEs annual Person of the Year still generates considerable buzz. TIME.com has been on the web since 1998 and its current web edition is both very complete and attractively designed with many news photos. A unique feature of TIME.com is its searchable web archive of every article published since the magazine's founding in 1923. Access to the archived articles is free and requires no registration unlike say the New York Times which charges for its archives.

TIME finally has a mobile web edition (mobile.time.com) and it's another of the Crisp Wireless sites I mentioned in yesterday's AP Elections post. The site uses TIME's signature shade of red for the background of header text is generally both readable and attractive. Page (5KB) and image (102px wide) sizes are well within the limits of any WAP2 phone. The site contains the full text of 16 current articles from TIME.com. No access to the archives, unfortunately.

I did notice an interesting bug not only in TIME mobile but in most of the Crisp Wireless sites. With the latest Openwave V7 browser, links disappear when they have focus. You can see this in the images. The top image shows the link to "The Foley Scandal..." but when you scroll down to the link it's gone (second image). The culprit is the following CSS:
a:focus {
background: #cc0000;
color: #ffffff;
 Time Mobile Image Bug The intention is to reverse the selected link's colors to white on a red background. Unfortunately, the Openwave V7 browser ignores the background color change - but not the foreground one and you end up with the dreaded white text on a white background! This happens both on an actual Motorola i855 handset and with the OpenwaveV7 emulator. Coincidentally, Luca Passani's Global Authoring Practices for the Mobile Web which I recommended in a recent post warns against doing exactly this.

"Do not try to color links
...If adaptation is not an option, avoiding background images and colored links is the safest choice to make sure that content is usable across a wide array of devices. If no color info and no background are specified, devices will resort to default colors, which are typically very readable."

I tried TIME mobile on the other emulators I have and got better results. Openwave V6, Opera Mini and the Nokia Mobile Internet Toolkit 4.0 all ignored the CSS and rendered the links in the browser's default colors. The Motorola A835 MIB emulator actually got it right and colored the selected links white on red. So of the limited number of devices and emulators I have at hand only the Openwave V7 browser exhibited this bug. Still, Openwave is a very popular browser, especially in the US. In addition, only the Motorola browser actually worked the way the site designer intended so I think Luca's advice is very sound for today's mobile handsets.

The background bug is mainly an annoyance and the site is still usable even on the Openwave browsers. I've added TIME Mobile to Yeswap.com's News section.

TIME Mobile: xhtml-mp
Content: **** Usability: ***

Emulator images courtesy Openwave Systems Inc. Openwave and the Openwave logo are registered trademarks and/or trademarks of Openwave Systems Inc. in various jurisdictions. All rights reserved.

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