Future proof your website using HTML5

HTML5 is a markup language for structuring and presenting content for the World Wide Web and a core technology of the Internet. It was created in 1990 and standardised as HTML4 in 1997.  As the name indicates HTML5 is the fifth revision of the HTML standard and as of December 2012, is a W3C Candidate Recommendation.  Its core aims have been to improve the language with support for the latest multimedia while keeping it easily readable by humans and consistently understood by computers, devices and web browsers.

How HTML5 Got Started

This is article -10 in the web design Cornwall series and outlines the benefits of HTML5.

HTML5 has been developed in cooperation between the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and the Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group (WHATWG). W3C was working with XHTML 2.0 and WHATWG was working with web forms and applications – in 2006, they decided to cooperate and create a new version of HTML – HTML5.

Some rules for HTML5 were established:

  • New features should be based on HTML, CSS, DOM, and JavaScript
  • Reduce the need for external plugins (like Flash)
  • Better error handling
  • More markup to replace scripting
  • HTML5 should be device independent
  • The development process should be visible to the public.

At Button Web Design we predominantly use HTML5 as it will become the next standard and already has many benefits over HTML4/XHTML 1.0 – particularly with regard to cross-device, cross-platform compatibility.  Gone are the days when developers have to rely on Adobe Flash for providing video and animation effects.

Mark up language & W3C guidelines

Therefore, to ensure you are using industry best practice and future-proofing your website, insist on your website being designed using HTML5 mark-up language.  This will ensure that your websites will be compatible with all browsers and users of the World Wide Web now and in the future. Browsers are evolving to make increasing use of HTML5’s semantics to provide optimal accessibility and usability for visitors.

Your web designer needs to understand website accessibility and know that simply checking the validity of mark-up is not enough to ensure a website’s content is going to be accessible to the visually impaired user.  We recommend using the http://wave.webaim.org online tool to check website templates during the web accessibility evaluation process.  The WAVE output shows the original web page with embedded icons and indicators that reveal the accessibility of the checked page.  You can then make sure any issues are dealt with so that the website is optimised with accessibility in mind.

At the time of writing, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has not yet set a standard for HTML5 because it is seen as an unfinished product.  That said, any reputable web designer will pride themselves on a commitment to interoperability, accessibility and usability in the development of their websites in accordance with W3C, WAI and DDA regulations and guidelines.  This is what W3C has to say about HTML5:

W3C standards define an Open Web Platform for application development that has the unprecedented potential to enable developers to build rich interactive experiences, powered by vast data stores, that are available on any device. Although the boundaries of the platform continue to evolve, industry leaders speak in unison about how HTML5 will be the cornerstone for this platform

With this in mind, we firmly believe that HTML5 is the correct choice of mark-up language to use in our websites and that W3C will work with its partners, including CSS, SVG, WOFF, the Semantic Web stack, XML, and a variety of APIs (application programming interfaces) to clearly define a platform standard for HTML5 in the very near future.  The fact that it has now received a W3C Candidate Recommendation means that this standard is imminent.

So in order to future proof your website, we strongly advise that it is built using HTML5.

 

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