If you’ve been looking into updating your website recently, you’ve probably run across a lot of information about HTML5. From the start, it helps understand what this term actually means. HTML is the foundation language on which webpages are built. It’s actually a markup language, not a programming language, and it underpins just about every website in existence. HTML5 does a lot more than make a pretty webpage. HTML5 is still being developed, but it promises to overcome some of the issues that web designers deal with and that website owners deal with in terms of device compatibility, including certain types of content and many other issues. Here are some of the basics that you’ll want to understand.

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Multimedia

Right now, Adobe Flash powers a lot of the games, multimedia content and other website enhancements you see online. It’s an incredibly popular technology, but it’s not universally compatible. The most famous device compatibility conflicts where Adobe Flash is concerned come from Apple devices. The iPad, iPhone and other devices manufactured by Apple simply don’t run Flash the way a desktop browser does.

HTML5 has enormous potential for multimedia content. It allows you to run multimedia content on a website without requiring plug-ins. Flash is a type of plug-in. Plug-ins are generally used to allow a browser to play certain types of content. In fact, if you have a missing plug-in, you get a message where the multimedia content is supposed to appear, asking you to install it on most browsers. With HTML5, there’s no need for this. If you’re updating the website, you’ll want to talk to your website designer about incorporating HTML5 content in your website and, if possible, forgoing the use of plug-ins.

Advanced Features

HTML5 has potential that goes far beyond providing people with multimedia content that they passively watch. For example, you can incorporate multimedia content that is interactive in the best sense of that term. It can be used to make games, to allow people to draw on the screen, and it can support gesture input and more. Because of how the web has evolved and because Internet connections are so much faster today than they were even a decade ago, people tend to expect more out of the websites that they visit. Pretty images and amusing animations just don’t cut it anymore. People want a webpage experience that allows them to interact, to learn, to get real value out of the time they spend on the page and more. HTML5 is one of the tools that is being used to provide such experiences.

Redesigns and New Technologies

Sometimes, it can be frustrating to find out that, to stay current, you need to revamp your website in terms of technology and that doing that revamping may consist of completely eliminating certain technologies that you’ve used on your website for some time and replacing them with newer solutions. Where HTML5 is concerned, however, the question is really one of inevitability.

As new technologies for the Internet are developed, they tend to overcome some of the shortcomings of the technologies that preceded them. With so many mobile devices in use today and with people expecting to be able to access websites and use all of the features on those websites with their mobile devices, it makes sense to accommodate people’s desire for a universally usable website. In fact, if you’re not convinced that it might be time to move on from a plug-in driven web, you may want to look at just how many people are using and iPad or an iPhone these days and see if that changes your mind.