Responsive Design and HTML5

Lots of fine work popping up lately regarding responsive design and the growing use of HTML5 to present not only content, but a rich, interactive user experience.

Take for example the new Boston Globe site. To get the full impact of the site, view it on as many different devices and orientations as you can and not how it fluidly adjusts to each of them. A another key aspect of this site is that they took a mobile first stance with the design so things are as lean as possible – a refreshing change from the ‘flash just because we can’ presentation that is all to common today. ReadWriteWeb has a behind the scenes look at the site design.

SlideShare is another site that has moved to HTML5 to provide a richer, cross-platform experience for sharing slide decks, videos and other business documents. Another advantage of moving to HTML5 is that the site renders 30 percent faster than the previous Flash-based version. TechCrunch has more on the changes at SlideShare:

Boutelle says SlideShare continues to see growing engagement, and expects the HTML5 platform to increase usage as well. He explains that HTML5 made sense because the company wanted a lightweight experience for users and wanted documents, fonts, and more to look the same on various browser types. As we mentioned above, this is SlideShare’s first mobile presence and currently the startup doesn’t have any plans to expand to native apps. “We’re doubling down on HTML5 and making this better and bette so it works for everybody,” says Boutelle.

And, yes, even Facebook has been talking recently about how they are looking to HTML5 to avoid having to develop and maintain four different code bases across their desktop and various mobile platforms.

HTML5 is probably the way that we should have done it. This is the way we get to do it now because HTML5 has changed so much under our feet. The initial attempt at building a hybrid application, there were certain things in HTML5 that weren’t ready yet and we said forget it, we are going to keep moving forward. The initial attempt to defer certain things to native rendering and native handling that really could be better handled by something like HTML5 and with in-browser technology – device access, good native frameworks and application and display code.

With all of this movement in the industry, why are corporate developers largely ignoring HTML5? The same changes that exist in the consumer markets are already starting to appear inside the corporate firewall – tablet and mobile interactions with corporate systems. Additionally, customers are going to start expecting, if not demanding, that corporate web sites look and behave in a responsive way regardless of what device they are using to access them. These pressures are going to force a change in development toolkits and approaches for businesses to stay competitive and relevant.

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