During my breaks, I've been thinking about ways to improve mobile user experience. One rough spot is the need to type in URLs which are typically ASCII which is awkward to type into a phone. One way to get around this problem is to use phone numbers.
This is how I see it working. Each website offering mobile contents or services gets one or more URLCall (pronounced Earl Call) numbers which are phone numbers. When the number is called, the phone recognizes the number as a URLCall and, instead of making a real phone call, it opens the web browser and opens the URL mapped to the phone number.
Special number prefixes or a set of non-existent country codes configured into the phone can be used to recognize URLCalls.
URLCall to URL Mapping
Many solutions are possible. Here are two:
DNS-like services are used which maps phone numbers to URL instead of IP address to domain names.
Phone simply points the browser to a known URL with URLCall as a parameter:
URLCall.net service looks up the number and performs a HTTP redirect to the mapped URL:
A less glamorous yet more practical solution that will work with existing phones with only minor changes is to program a single button to open the browser to the URLCall.net website. So all user has to do is click on that button and type in the number. This approach removes the need for URLCall recognition which I like.
NOTE: URLCall.net is a fictitious domain which I made up to illustrate the idea.
First implementation of URLCall by Didier!