By Michael Bay published April 5, 2012

Five Things Marketers Need to Know about HTML5

Even if you don’t know it, you’ve already seen HTML5 at work. The new standard for websites isn’t due to be complete until 2014, but websites including Google, Facebook, Youtube, Wikipedia and Twitter are already using it.  If you’re not already using HTML5, here are some things you should know about it.

#1: It’s the Future of the Web

“HTML5 is the future of the web and developers who take advantage of the newest web technologies will be able to create a better user experience, better development tools and allow for rich applications,” says Google Developer Advocate Seth Ladd.  Indeed, HTML5 is already being used by eight of the top ten websites.  A report by Strategy Analytics says sales of HTML5 compatible phones will reach a billion next year.

So, you know it’s here.  But why should you care?

#2: It Makes Design Easier

The goal of HTML5 is to standardize all of the changes in technology and design of the last 15 years. A lot of the content that requires special add-on applications can be delivered with HTML5 alone. “HTML5 technologies ensure that various functionalities, such as video or 3-D graphics,” Ladd says, “will just work within any browser, regardless of the device they are being accessed on.”

#3: It Makes Development Faster

Adding content is a lot easier with HTML5. “The family of HTML5 features simplify web development because in many cases they put common functionality into the browser,” Ladd explains.  You don’t need to use FLASH or other tools to embed video.  HTML5 provides built in video support with the <video> tag.  Most modern browsers already support HTML5 video, and sites like Youtube have begun supporting the <video> tag.  Audio content is supported with the <audio> tag.  The <canvas> element and SVG graphic support make significant improvements to graphical elements.   “When you put common behavior into the browser, that means the developer needs to ship and write less code- which is always a good thing. ”, says Ladd.

#4: It’s Already Working For Others

HTML5 isn’t scheduled to be officially ready until 2014.  But, that hasn’t stopped saavy web developers from putting the language’s new features to use.  In September of last year, 34 of the top 100 websites were using HTML5, according to a report by Binvisions.  HTML5 covers features that have wide adoption as well as features that are very new and experimental,” Ladd says.

#5: It Creates Amazing Web Experiences

The tools HTML5 provides can create websites as beautiful as any you’ve ever seen. You may not need all the bells and whistles, but HTML5 can help you stand out in comparison to your competition.  “Luckily, there are great online resources like caniuse.com,” says Ladd,” that help developers and businesses choose the subset of features that help them deliver fantastic experiences to the browsers that matter most to them. “And without the need for elaborate coding. Check out this fantastic gallery of HTML5 sites on Wix.com for examples of the power of HTML5.  You can also get a great overview of HTML5 specifics at html5rocks.com.

In a fiercely competitive environment, you know you need any edge you can get.  And HTML5 may be the best edge to come along in years.

Author: Michael Bay

Michael W. Bay has worked in all aspects of media production, from newspapers and radio to television and the internet. He is the co-founder of Real Content, an Atlanta based content strategy and creation agency, and has provided services to Home Depot and Turner Broadcasting. He won an Emmy in 2004 for his role in CNN International's coverage the southeast Asian Tsunami. And he wrote, produced and directed the imaginative and provocative CNN Future Summit, covering controversial aspects of the future of technology that included climate change, robotics, genetics and the future of the internet. You can follow him on Twitter @Real_Content.

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