Got questions about Flash®, HTML5 and cross-browser compatibility? You’re not alone. Since we began rolling out our interactive solutions in HTML5, we’ve received quite a few questions. So we’ve decided to address some of them on our blog but feel free to keep the questions coming.
Why can’t I see my interactive content on my iPad or mobile phone?
Interactive presentations, games and applications have traditionally been designed in Flash – which requires a downloaded plugin for display. But most of today’s mobile devices and tablet PCs can’t play Flash – leaving your web content inaccessible to many users. Manufacturers like Apple® cite performance, security and drain on battery life as reasons for abandoning the Flash mobile plugin.
Why mobile users can’t be ignored:
- Mobile devices are driving nearly 7% of US web traffic and growing. (Cnet) Tweet It!
- That non-computer digital traffic is made up of tablets (1.9%), mobile phones (4.4%) and “other devices” (.5) namely the iPod Touch. (ComScore) Tweet It!
- Apple’s non-Flash mobile devices (iPad®, iPhone®, iPod Touch®) account for 43.1% of that mobile web traffic. (ComScore) Tweet It!
- The iPad accounts for 97.2% of tablet traffic specifically. (ComScore) Tweet It!
- By 2014, mobile internet usage is projected to surpass desktop usage. (DigitalBuzz) Tweet It!
- 44% of Americans already own smartphones (redOrbit) Tweet It!
- 75% of consumers use a mobile device in the retail buying process. (Verve Wireless) Tweet It!
- More stats
What is HTML5 and do I really need it?
HTML5 is a programming language built into the latest browsers to support multimedia and graphics display on the web without the use of proprietary plugins like Flash. It’s also lighter to download and easier for mobile devices to handle.
With HTML5, your multimedia content can be displayed across various web browsers, mobile devices and tablet PCs where Flash has traditionally met limitations. Plus, HTML5 lets us optimize for multi-touch interfaces which is impossible with Flash. And you no longer have to worry about users missing compelling content that you’ve invested in because they haven’t installed the latest update. With the prevalence of the iPad and other mobile devices, HTML5 is becoming a must for web-hosted interactive solutions.
How do I know it’s not just a fad?
We asked ourselves this same question before investing in development resources. We looked at several factors as predictions of the lifespan:
- Again, mobile internet traffic (currently dominated by Apple’s non-Flash devices) is increasing at such a rapid pace that it is projected to surpass desktop traffic by 2014. Tweet It!
- Adobe® Flash plans to discontinue its mobile Flash player to focus on PC browsing and mobile apps. (Adobe) Tweet It!
- Apple has adopted HTML5 instead of Flash and does not include a Flash player in devices. See Apple’s “Thoughts on Flash” by Steve Jobs. Tweet It!
- Google® is “betting big on HTML 5.” (O’Reilly Media) Tweet It!
- Microsoft® agrees, “The Future of the Web is HTML5” (TechCrunch) Tweet It!
- Even the popular game “Angry Birds” and internet radio service Pandora have begun using HTML5. (Wall Street Journal) Tweet It!
- YouTube® has been supporting HTML5 since January of 2010. (YouTube Blog) Tweet It!
- HTML in general as a markup language has survived since its introduction in 1991.
Which of MediaLab’s solutions are available in HTML5?
We now offer many of our interactive solutions in HTML5 – giving you Flash-like capabilities without the limitations.
For builders we offer:
- Interactive Sales Center Presentations
- Interactive Floor Plans
- Interactive Site Maps
- Interactive Area Maps
On the Consumer Products side we offer:
- Interactive Product Demonstration
So, should I convert my Flash presentations to HTML5?
Consider your site content, your audience, and your marketing plans. To determine which content to convert, ask yourself the following questions.
- Is this content still relevant to my audience?
- Am I primarily sharing the content in my sales center or also on the web?
- Do I plan to share this content with clients using a tablet device?
- Do I want this content to be accessible from a mobile device?
- Is it realistic that my audience will access this content from a mobile device?
So, is Flash dead?
No. Flash still has its place on touchscreen monitors and where the presentation is controlled from a laptop or desktop PC, and where there is limited to no internet access. Flash files can be saved and run from a local machine without an internet connection.
If your primary use of our interactive solutions is on touchscreen displays and PCs, or for presentations in locations without internet access, you can still get tons of mileage out of your Flash presentations.
And what about IE8 and older web browsers that haven’t caught up on HTML5?
It’s true that Internet Explorer® 8 (IE) and its older versions don’t support HTML5 and that Windows XP users can’t upgrade beyond IE8. But, it’s important to note that as of January 2012, only 14.7% of web users use IE6 – IE8 with usage steadily declining since 2004 . Firefox and Chrome have the lion’s share of browser usage with over 70% between the two, and both support HTML5 in their most-used versions – Chrome15+ and Firefox 7+ respectively. IE also began supporting HTML5 with the IE9 release and is promising even more with the upcoming release of IE10.
With the majority and the minority in mind, we recommend HTML5 with a Flash Fallback — your interactive solutions developed in HTML5 and packaged in flash-renderable format. With the Flash fallback, the user’s browser is detected and the appropriate format is rendered to keep all bases covered. More on the Flash Fallback and why you need it.
Is it more expensive?
Our HTML5 solutions cost roughly the same as our Flash solutions. There is a small increase in cost (about 10%) but it’s typically due to hosting. There is also some cost for conversion when converting an existing Flash-based solution to HTML5.
Can’t I just use a Flash converter?
Flash-to-HTML5 converters like Adobe’s Wallaby and Google’s Swiffy offer limited conversion from FLA and SWF files respectively. They are typically used to convert simple Flash movies such as banners. Neither can convert all Flash content yet or take you all the way with complex interactive presentations.
What about video? Which format should I use?
HTML5 is best for interactive content, but is not necessarily required for video. For video, we recommend moving away from FLV to a format like MPG4.
Still have questions? Add your question in the comments section below or contact us.