Your application can identify returning users and store their information in order to give them a better experience. By capturing this information you can:
- Provide relevant information without asking the user for input.
- Give users a personalized experience.
- Upgrade or upsell your application.
You can capture and store user information using network- and device-based methods, each of which has its own advantages and requirements. The method you choose should make sense for your application's information architecture. The following methods are available:
- Sub ID
- Secure Services
- Phone Number
- Push URL
User information is stored on the server.
The SUB ID, used in HTTP-based WAP applications, offers a good way to store customer information on your server. Stored in the HTTP header x-up-subno, it is passed as a unique value for each customer. Since this SUB ID should be consistent each time the user visits the WAP site, this unique identifier is the key to accessing previously stored customer information.
User information is stored on the WAP gateway or on the device.
Cookies on mobile phones follow the same HTTP specifications as cookies for traditional PC-based browsing. Cookies can store session data (so you needn't store it on your server) and help provide a more streamlined user experience for WAP-based services.
For WAP 1.0 devices, the cookie is stored on the WAP gateway. WAP 2.0 phones typically store the cookie on the mobile device—which may have limited storage space, which adds the risk of your cookie eventually being deleted. Whether the phone or the WAP gateway stores the cookie, the main difference between the cookie option and the SUB ID option is that the content provider does not need to store any persistent data on the server when using cookies.
Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is available in a mobile environment to secure data between the mobile phone and your servers, similar to the Internet.
Be aware that the WAP 2.0 gateway cannot compress or translate content from secure Web sites. If you are providing a service over a secure connection, be aware of device page limits and content compatibility as indicated by HTTP headers or the User Agent Profile (UAProf), and be aware that certain HTTP headers inserted by the WAP gateway (e.g., SUB ID) will not be available. Also, server certificates must be issued by one of the AT&T-recommended certificate authorities, or else users will receive a security warning prompting them to accept the connection.
Messaging applications, such as SMS and MMS, capture the phone number of the message sender. When in compliance with AT&T policies on storage of the phone number, Content Providers may receive permission to use a customer's phone number for personalization of applications.
Basic customer information can be obtained from the Push URL.
When MEdia Net links to a Content Provider's site, the Push URL appends a small set of subscriber data elements as parameters on the content provider URL. These data elements may be a ZIP code, parental control setting, purchase blocker, and day and month of birth. If this data is not available in the subscriber profile, the parameters will empty. For example, if an application uses a subscriber's ZIP code to present a service based on the user's home area, the MEdia Net portal would format a link to the content provider site for that user that looks like this:
When the subscriber accesses this page, the application can present a customized screen based on ZIP code. The ZIP code and Subscriber ID would be stored so that all subsequent visits would also offer a customized experience.