As the trend away from the desktop and toward mobile and tablet devices continues, HTML5 will play a fundamental role in helping you provide a consistent user experience across all media channels. HTML5 strengths lie in three major areas: semantic enrichment, Rich Internet Applications, and native support for rich media.
HTML5 provides developers with new, meaningful ways to organize content. Using new tags such as <header>, <footer>, <article> and <section>, pages can be organized more relevantly. What this means for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is that search engines will have contextual information about the content for indexing, making it easier to present additional relevant results based on context. This move towards a more “Semantic Web” is what many are referring to as “Web 3.0”. Harnessing new semantic technologies will help to improve a Website’s discoverability and interrelationships.
Rich Internet Applications
Rich Internet Applications (RIA) can be described as Web applications that bridge the gap between the browser and desktop. To some extent, a RIA can communicate with the user’s local system to provide an experience that extends beyond the browser.
RIA technologies such as Adobe Flash and Microsoft Silverlight have offered this functionality for years to help Web developers create unique, interactive experiences online. However, the functionality came in the form of plugins to extend the browser functionality – those plugins came with a performance penalty as well as an annoying need to keep the plugins current. In the case of Flash, the plugins were not available on certain smartphone and tablet devices such as the Apple iPhone and iPad. Additionally, many users object to the inherent dependence upon proprietary vendors for the extended functionality that should be natively available within any browser.
HTML5 comes into play with its ability to store and retrieve files from the user’s machine. With HTML5, Web applications can access and manipulate files from any browser that supports HTML5, yielding the same results every time.
Couple this functionality with the HTML5 canvas API’s ability to dynamically create vector-based graphics, and companies now have the opportunity to create rich, interactive experiences online within any browser and on any device that supports HTML5.
HTML5 provides native support for audio and video elements. With HTML5, users will no longer need to download a plug-in in order to watch a YouTube video or listen to a song streamed from their favorite internet radio station.
HTML5 rich media support also means that rich content is now accessible on any device, including the array of smartphone and tablet devices in the market today.
Another often overlooked benefit to this standard is that HTML5 embedded video and audio files are less taxing on mobile devices’ batteries, which becomes more important as we see more users embracing and relying on the mobile Web.