As more browsers embrace the new HTML5 standard, the new markup language is getting a lot of attention recently from web designers and techies everywhere. But what does switching to HTML5 mean to digital advertising and interactive agencies that use technology to market in the digital space?
HTML is a markup language used to design and layout webpages. HTML5 is an evolution of that language with more tags and options designed to make web design simpler, more browser-friendly, and feature rich.
Interactive agencies use technology in creative and imaginative ways to engage audiences. For years, web developers of interactive agencies have been using libraries like JQuery and Dojo to create web apps with drag-and-drop, animations, or rounded corners.
Now creating draggable content is simple with HTML5 so developers can create interactive apps, games, and other rich features for their websites. Also, there are currently 28 new tags to create cleaner, more readable markup while new form input types and make it easier to build wikis and discussion boards for websites.
But the biggest plus HTML5 brings to interactive agencies is the video and canvassing options that make Flash or Silverlight obsolete. Flash is a technology that enables flashy audio-visual for web developers that creative interactive agencies make full use of. But Flash and Silverlight requires users to download, install, and upgrade plugins – something not all web surfers keep up with. What’s worse is that Flash and Silverlight cannot be installed on the two most widely used mobile browsing devices, the iPhone and the iPod. So interactive agencies that want to use Flash are missing out on an enormous and growing market of mobile device users.
But HTML5 has these new canvas and video features that are set to replace Flash. The canvas and video are capable of just about all the same audio, visual, and interactive elements that Flash and Silverlight can do. And canvas and video on HTML5 does not require a bunch of plugins, downloads, and upgrades that Flash and Silverlight requires – the user just needs a newer browser that is compatible with HTML5. HTML5 will work for mobile browsers that use iPhones and iPods. Steve Jobs himself has actively embraced HTML5 while dismissing Adobe Flash.
Obviously, the canvas and video features of HTML5 are extremely relevant to digital advertising and interactive agencies. Now you can release your full creativity without worrying about your animations, videos, and audio elements alienating some of your users. Unfortunately, if you switch from an existing Flash setup you have to pretty much redevelop it from scratch in HTML5. But when you consider how universal HTML5 is going to be, it is probably worth the effort.
The adoption of HTML5 will be driven by the needs of mobile developers rather than desktop developers. Regardless of whether you implement HTML5 now or later, planning and awareness should start now. Full integration is still about a year off, but many of HTML5’s tags can be added incrementally without confusing legacy browsers.