When you want to add an element to your website that will blow people away, traditionally you will create something in Adobe’s incredibly flexible Flash format. Flash has been going strong on the web since the mid 90’s and until recently it has looked as if nothing could stand in it’s way. Flash has held a dominance in developing rich media for the web and even though it has been a propitiatory format, people have gone out of their way to purchase the development tools from Adobe and encouraged people to download the plugin on their browser. Adobe’s fate would be forever changed with the release of just one single product on January 9th 2007.
The iPhone from Apple changed everything. Over the past few years interest in desktop software development has tapered off and Mobile software development has resembled a modern day gold rush. With iPhone starting the trend, Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs had a chance to reinvent the computing market and could set his own rules in a market that was dominated by Apple.One of the main drawbacks for the iPhone was the fact that it did not support Flash. The phone was locked down and the Flash platform was not welcome. It isn’t that it was impossible to get it working on the iPhone but Apple insisted that it wasn’t a friendly platform based on it’s heavy processing load that it would put on the device. There have been far less powerful mobile devices that have supported Flash such as the Nokia N Series internet tablets several years ago. Flash was undeniably slow on these “open” devices but Apple refuses to let sluggish software and on their very “closed” products.
So what does this mean for my site?
HTML5 allows rich content to be displayed without putting a heavy load on your browser. It’s is an open standard, yet to be finalized, that is now supported natively within all major browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and Internet Explorer. IPhones, iPads, Desktops, Laptops, Netbooks, Android Smartphones and any other devices that connect to the web will be able to display amazing HTML5 content with no additional plugins or requirements. You won’t have to worry about your customers not seeing your content.When a good portion of a site is written in Flash, portions of your site and services are completely invisible to iPhone and iPad users. If you are using Flash for a banner ad, your site header, an introduction video or even a small little animation, Apple’s mobile users will get a blank space representing where your content is supposed to be seen. Apple’s iPhone and iPad’s users continue to eat up the internet user market share and you may be missing out on 1-10% of your traffic.
It is time to move beyond Flash and on to HTML5.