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Why you should talk to your Web Developer about HTML5

HTML5 has been around for several years, but it was only in 2010 that it became the subject of mainstream news after Steve Jobs issued a public letter entitled Thoughts on Flash. In it Jobs declared that Adobe’s  Flash “was no longer necessary to watch video or consume any kind of web content” and that “new open standards created in the mobile era, such as HTML5, will win”.

What does this mean to you as the owner of a website business? What is HTML5 anyway and what can it do for your website? To answer this, and we’re assuming that you’re a layman, we will first give you a really brief overview of the nuts and bolts that make up a website.

HTML is short for HyperText Markup Language and HTML elements form the building blocks of all websites. HTML allows images and objects to be embedded and can be used to create interactive forms. It provides a means to create structured documents by denoting structural semantics for text such as headings, paragraphs, lists, links, quotes and other items. A web browser then reads the HTML documents and composes them into the visible web pages.

HTML4, the last major iteration of the language, debuted in 1997 and has been subsequently augmented with “plugins” so that it can handle the demands of the modern Web. You may have experienced these inconveniences from time to time. When you visit a website, you may be asked to install Flash or some other plugin before you can properly view the website’s content. Web surfers over the last 10 years were already accustomed to this practice until Steve Jobs came out and stated that Flash was causing Macs to crash and would be eating up  battery life prompting Apple to drop support of Flash and other plugins from mobile devices such as iPads and iPhones

HTML5 lets sites directly embed media with the simple HTML tags “<video>” and “<audio>”. These features are designed to make it easy to include and handle multimedia and graphical content on the web without having to resort to plugins. This is a big deal if you want to attract customers who currently use devices platforms that either don’t support Flash, such as iPhone and iPad, or have well documented problems with it.

So, if you are about to embark on an online business, or about to give your website a makeover, talk to your web developer about HTML5. It’s not really an issue of using the latest technology or trend, but more importantly, it’s making sure that your online business reaches its target audience and is available in the best way possible.

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