Why HTML5 matters to your business

The marketing sector can be a complicated place as new marketing tools and techniques are launched, almost on a weekly basis. Powered by The Drum Network, this regular column invites The Drum Network's members to demystify the marketing trade and offer expert insight and opinion on what is happening in the marketing industry today that can help your business tomorrow.

Andrew Windle is a designer at Cuckoo.

HTML5 – you’ve probably at least heard of it, but do you know what it really is and, more importantly, what it’s capable of?

HTML5 is the latest version of Hypertext Markup Language. This is the code that describes web pages. It is made up of HTML, providing the structure; Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), for presentation; and JavaScript, the driving force behind it all. When discussing and making comparisons or judgements of HTML5, we are mostly comparing it to its predecessor, Flash. Flash is now fast becoming obsolete as it possesses downfalls such as longer load times, increased data usage, accessibility restrictions and potential security threats, and as a result is becoming increasingly blocked from other devices and web browsers.

So what can we use this new technology for? It can be used to write web applications offline, provide user geolocations, handle high definition videos and deliver exceptional graphics. One of its most common uses to date is for web banners, which now use HTML5 as standard. And as this usage escalates so does the creativity behind it, with expandable banners, screen takeovers, animated hover states and a whole range of interactive features.

It makes the previously impossible possible. The best thing about HTML5 – due to its coding make up – is its functionality across all devices and platforms. The fact that it doesn’t require any additional software or browser plug-ins makes it a dream for clients and their marketing campaigns as they can feel confident that their online content can be viewed by all their current and prospective internet-using customers. This is particularly important where web banners are concerned. Eye-catching animations are able to run seamlessly and effectively without being blocked or defaulting to their static forms.

Size does matter! Another major benefit is the reduction in file size of the creative outputs. This means faster loading, [reducing network usage for customers on the go]; enhancing user experience; and increasing the developer’s capacity to add more fun and creativity, all within reason of course! A win-win all round for the clients, the creatives and the users. In turn, these users have overcome the inconvenience of more quickly hitting data allowances [since the ‘deceased’ Flash days] and are more likely to stay engaged in online marketing activities.

Finally, HTML5 is app-solutely beautiful! Remote updates for web-based and mobile apps means only the latest version is visible and therefore multiple versions of an app are not required. This also means that users do not need to update them manually, saving on time and inconvenience. In regards to building apps, although it may take slightly longer to use HTML5, you only have to create it once, rather than having to tailor it to multiple different platforms. The client’s money spent and the creative’s hard work on the creation of complicated dynamic visual effects, animations and page styles is all then even more valuable.

As you can now hopefully begin to see, HTML5 is very exciting and has a prosperous future. Although it’s been around a few years, it’s only more recently that some of these benefits have become more apparent. It is an all-round winner for clients, creatives and users and at this moment in time it looks like there is much more to come.

Andrew Windle is a designer at Cuckoo

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