Getting the best from HTML5

The arrival of HTML5 last year sent a wave of excitement and apprehension through web designers and developers. It was jam-packed with goodies to help them get the best out of their websites without being markedly different from the old version. But despite this there are still people out there not making the most of the new technology and who have got left behind as it has developed.

The key features of HTML5, including the extended API, new tagging system and improved page segmentation can be used to drive up traffic to your website, but only if you know how to use it properly.

As we discussed in our last posting, businesses need to be paying more attention to SEO and their web presence if they are going to compete in the online environment. Using HTML5 to the best of its’ abilities is a crucial way to do this.

Search engines now apply page segmentation when they send out their spiders, dividing up your pages and treating each as a separate entity. With HTML5 you can tag these individual entities and direct search engines exactly where they need to go. You can tag sections of your online blog or magazine, include a range of features including H1, H2 and H3 elements and hard-coded links to get search engines to notice unique sections. The fact that you can pick and choose what you tag is great for SEO and you can focus on key areas of your site.

The other crucial factor about HTML5 is the way you use it to present your site, and crucially how it appears on mobile applications. Mobile phones with access to the internet are old news, so why are there still websites that direct users to a mobile version of their site when using the newest smartphones?

Mobile devices have moved quickly over the past two years to give their owners big, cleaner windows to view web browsers and emails, but some sites still display the same old, stripped down version of their pages as they did five years ago. Of course web developers and designers have to tweak how they use HTML5 for different browsers, but when so many people access the internet via their phones surely the design for this should have a high priority?

Most phones now have no problem viewing full web pages, making it frustrating when sites like the BBC don’t give it to you straight away. Designers need to be looking at the new opportunities HTML5 affords so users across a whole range of browsers can experience a new way of viewing online media. The technology is there, it just needs the right mind to apply it.