What is HTML 5 & how can it help your business?

Derek Borland's picture

Intro to HTML 5

It seems that HTML 5 is the future of the web now that adobe has abandoned mobile flash development. It has many powerful features that can complete with flash and it’s availability includes a wide range of devices (desktops, tablets, smartphones...) without the need of additional external plugins. HTML 5 is still under development but can be used today to enhance your website and your visibility to all users of the web whether they are at home, work, or on the go.

 

Video & Audio Element

Two of the new elements bring native video and audio support to smartphones as well tablets and desktop computers. This is a major breakthrough for mobile computing. Without the need for external plug-ins, your mobile devices will use less processing power resulting in a longer battery life. With the number of people using smartphones today these video and audio elements will help your media reach your targets. However, there are a few drawbacks to these elements. People using older desktop browsers (Internet Explorer 6-8) require a fallback to play the media. Other browsers (Firefox, Chrome, Opera...) require you to be up to date with their newest versions. Many websites are using the audio and video elements today. Those websites include: YouTube, Vimeo & Soundcloud - to name a few.

 

New Semantic Elements

HTML 5 brings some new markup tags to HTML. These tags are only visible to developers and search engines. The power of these tags can help you rank better in search engines by describing the type of content on your website. If you have a blog you can use the `article` to specify that this piece of content is a news item. Now when a search engine crawls your website it will have a better understanding of the context of your content. Search engines do not release how they index websites but utilizing HTML 5 you can make sure that your bases are covered for the future when HTML 5 becomes the standard way of creating content for the web.

 

Conclusion

These are just a few of the many features of HTML 5 that will change how we serve content to our users. Many of these features we can use today. Support for most of the new elements is good as long as you or your users are using a modern browser. For users with older browsers you must decide whether or not to support them with a progressive enhancement strategy. Progressive enhancement is a strategy for the web emphasizing accessibility by providing basic content so any user can access your site while also providing these modern technologies to users with modern browsers and/or better bandwidth to give them an enhanced version of the site. Here at Motionstrand we embrace these new technologies and use them in our work on a daily basis. The web is changing and it’s changing fast! Learn more about HTML 5 and how it can help your site by checking out the resource links below.

 

Browser Support Charts:
http://findmebyip.com/litmus

Wiki - Progressive Enhancement:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Progressive_enhancement

Wiki - HTML 5:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HTML5

HTML 5 Semantics Article:
http://www.alistapart.com/articles/semanticsinhtml5/

HTML 5 Development Resource:
http://www.html5rocks.com/en/