HTML 4.01 was introduced in 1999. Back then the web was a very different creature. Google was only a year old and the web was populated by static, text and image based sites, which looked dull compared to some of the beautiful works of art which make up the web today. The way we accessed the internet was also different. Back then we used a desktop machine at home or in the office. Now we may use a tablet or phone, on the train on our way to work. The advancement in internet technology has been exponential over the last 10 years or so, and it is difficult to accurately predict where we are heading on this fascinating journey.
HTML5, which is still very much an evolving standard, may be an indicator of things to come. It promises to break down the barriers caused by compatibility issues between devices, and the code is optimised for mobile browsing. These are significant features as the IDC (International Data Corporation) predicts that by 2015 more people in the US will access the internet via mobile device, rather than through a PC. The coming of HTML5 can’t be ignored by businesses as this new technology will provide benefits to companies who rely on their online presence to survive.
1. Search Engine Friendliness
If you have promotional videos on your company website which use Flash, HTML5 will be a Godsend. HTML5 is very SEO friendly in terms of getting indexed and crawled by search engines, much more so than Flash. Swapping Flash for HTML5 video, will ensure that your content is indexed, and customers can easily find it online.
Another key feature which will improve SEO for HTML5 websites, is the addition of a piece of code. The article tag can be used to mark up content in a blog post and indicate to search engines that this should be taken note of. The code will mean <div> tags can be dispensed with, meaning cleaner code and more efficient indexing by search engines.
2. Faster Page Load Times
Page loading times are an important part of the overall user experience and there have been many times when I’ve abandoned a website because the page takes too long to load up. It is essential to ensure your site loads quickly. 40% of people leave a website that takes over 3 seconds to load (source: kissmetrics) . Because a website created with HTML5 has clean, efficient code, page load times are significantly less, meaning less potential customers abandoning your online store in frustration.
3. Improved Shopping Cart Abilities
75% of online purchases don’t occur because of abandoned shopping carts (Monetate). Ensuring a streamlined, hassle free buying experience promotes a good customer experience increasing the likelihood of returning customers. HTML5 enables buyers to complete their purchase from whichever page they happen to be on using an overlay page which enables you to see the product page as you purchase your item.
4. Location Awareness
HTML5 has a geolocation API which gives location awareness to the browser. Although this can be a little intrusive and a bit too much like ‘Big Brother’, the user has to approve it firstly, before it is activated.
The possible benefits this technology could have for your business site is huge. Imagine if a potential customer was searching for a product your company sells on a mobile device whilst in town. They find your website and with HTML5’s location awareness, an API would be able to guide your prospective customer to any special deals nearby.
5. Better Image Quality For Product Images
A major problem with mobile websites has been the rendering of high quality product images. In the past it has been difficult for mobile internet users to see detailed images of products. With HTML5, users can see high resolution images and double tap them to see greater detail. The obvious implications for owners of business websites, is that customers will be more likely to purchase if they can see a detailed image of the item they are buying, thus increasing the likelihood that a purchase will be made.
Computer technology is advancing at a rate faster than ever before. Intel co-founder, Gordon E. Moore stated back in 1960’s that computer processing power doubles every 2 years. This is now known as Moore’s Law, and when you consider that a smart phone today has more processing power than all the computers NASA needed to go to the moon, you get a feeling he was right. Businesses which don’t adapt to new technologies fast, will surely fail, and as HTML5 may be finalised by 2014, according to the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) , the time to act is now.