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February 18, 2013

HTML 5 Explained……Quickly

HTML 5 is here! It has loads more syntactic features than the previous HTML incarnations, and it can handle video and graphical content without depending upon plugins and application programming interfaces! Isn’t that exciting?

You don’t really care, do you? How, might you ask, will this benefit my design concept, my marketing strategy, or my life in any way? Technical stuff like JavaScript, Flash and CSS might not mean a whole lot to sales and marketing departments, but they do have a significant impact on how a website and/or Web application will be viewed by a consumer base and how efficiently a designer can achieve the look you want for your site.

Now, graphic designers don’t necessarily know about the finer points of coding and semantics – many are primarily concerned with print design and branding. However, having a graphic designer that has experience and expertise in the latest technologies will help you create a unified print/Web identity, as well as keep your site technologically current.

Still not really understanding the significance of HTML 5? Well, don’t worry; we’re here to explain it for you. You’re welcome.

What is HTML, anyway?
HyperText Markup Language. HTML5 is the fifth edition of the program, which was initially designed in the 1980s as code that describes how text is intended to be displayed on a browser, i.e., bold text, italics, paragraph breaks, accent marks, et cetera. When combined with other elements, such as CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) and JavaScript, you basically have the entire language for how a Web page is displayed, including the colors, spacing, layout and the ability to interact. If you’ve ever had to enter text on the back end of your Web page and use a series of initially indecipherable brackets and symbols ( <p>,</p>) in order to format, you’ve used HTML code.

Why is HTML 5 important for the design of my Web page/app?
As the Web evolved, and different browsers gained predominance, HTML had to evolve to keep up with increasing sophistication. Now that Web applications are becoming nearly as common as Web pages, support for offline storage has become an issue. HTML 5 has built-ins that handle offline browsing for Web apps.

HTML5 can be integrated with other technologies in order to produce extremely elaborate, 2D or 3D effects, with animation and interactive features that will not have to be supported by plugins. This will enable you to achieve an extremely interesting and visually appealing page that allows users to view it without having to download Flash.

Making the impossible, possible.
A huge benefit is that it uses coding that’s applicable to the design of both websites and applications. Try that with previous versions and you’re going to find yourself in need of five or six other languages to get the same functionality. HTML 5 brings it all under one roof, not needing to integrate things like Flash or Silverlight. Learning a new set of coding can be time-consuming, but ultimately, HTML 5 lessons the learning curve for the new guy, while letting the veteran focus more on creating the actual product rather than Frankensteining various languages together.

Of course, even more significant is HTML 5’s ability to work with mobile. That’s big. Why? Because everything is going mobile. Consider the International Telecommunication Union’s latest report on Internet access, with data compiled for 2011:

  • Fixed broadband connections, like what you have at home or work, increased to just over 600 million globally, up from 530 million the year before. That’s incredible growth, but
  • Mobile broadband subscriptions went up by 40 percent in the same year to just shy of 1.1 billion.

That was 2011. Can you guess how your customers will find you next year?

Bottom Line
If you’re not a programmer, you don’t necessarily have to know all of the finer points of HTML 5, but keeping tabs on new technologies will let you stay ahead of the curve and know how to produce the optimal user experience to maximize revenue. HTML 5 is the latest answer, and we’re sure there will be an HTML 6 down the road, but until that happens, unclutter your website by adopting this better, sleeker way of coding. The opportunities it brings aren’t just for show-and-tell, they translate into real dollars, and that’s something that even your marketing department will care about.

by Kevin Smith
Kevin’s creativity and 15+ years experience, including four of his own successful consumer brands allow him to solve complex problems and create fresh ideas that leave others thinking “I wish I’d done that."

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