Flash – the once-ubiquitous developer tool has drawn its final breath. Adobe, Google and Mozilla have pulled the plug, so now it’s game on: we all have to embrace a brave new world of HTML5.

HTML5 has obvious benefits over Flash: it supports rich media, claims stronger security, and it’s far more dynamic on mobile.

It’s not all plain sailing though: HTML5 generally requires more resources – leading to larger file sizes and expanding load times. This not only impacts performance, but opens the door to a number of other big design and development challenges.

Ditch the bloat

HTML5, by nature, requires lighter content. Cutting the bloat can tighten your focus and improve the user experience.

Being lightweight and making sure you don’t go overboard can make a huge difference.

Where video is concerned, less is more

We all need to practice restraint in this new environment. Being too liberal with animation, for instance, will quickly weigh down the final product. Likewise, since video delivered via HTML5 isn’t compressed in the same way it is in Flash, we have to be a lot smarter when it comes to the type and size of visuals used. 

If there’s demand for video, cut it down. We have to be smart about the video we use and smart about imagery too. Content shouldn’t clog things up.

Conserve where possible

There are plenty of ways to cut corners and file sizes that are invisible to users. Be extra aware of font size, as some fonts take up a lot more space than others. Control your use of fonts: use system fonts already hosted on the browser level or optimise custom fonts by only downloading the characters required.

Take the time to test

Compared to Flash, HTML5 is something of a new frontier. It can adapt to different platforms, but that means an increased chance of things going wrong. In the early days, testing is a must. The tests you may have used for Flash may take more time with HTML5, but it’s time well spent to ensure your perform works as intended.

Creativity always wins

If the creative idea is strong enough, you should be able adapt to any restrictions to create a strong user experience.

A great idea will generate just as much interest, regardless of the format.

HTML5 will open the door to a wealth of new possibilities, but it’s also something of a Pandora’s Box when it comes to performance, security and privacy. But what would life be without a challenge?

We are Connect – the original web development agency. We have been providing best-in-class web, data and development services to public and private sector clients since 1994.

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