"Mobile access to the web has been a second-class experience for far too long," said W3C director Tim Berners-Lee. "MWI recognises the mobile device as a first-class participant, and will produce materials to help developers make the mobile web experience worthwhile."
The W3C said mobile users often find that their favourite websites are not accessible or not as easy to use on their mobile devices as on their desktop.
Also, content providers have difficulties building websites that work well on all types and configurations of mobile devices that offer web access.
Mobile Web Initiative participants will initially focus on best practices and mobile device descriptions.
The Mobile Web Best Practices Working Group will develop authoring guidelines, checklists and best practices to help content providers to develop web content that works well on mobile devices.
The Device Description Working Group will develop a database of descriptions that can be used by content authors to adapt their content to a particular device.
W3C members France Telecom, HP, MobileAware, Segala M Test, Vodafone and Volantis have become the first founding sponsors of the MWI.
All W3C members are eligible to become MWI founding sponsors until 1 July. Founding sponsors will take a lead role in the MWI's work.