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When hypertext markup language (HTML) was first proposed by Tim Berners-Lee in 1990 at CERN (an organization that is now simulating the conditions of the Big Bang), the world was a very different place. Berners-Lee originally developed the system as a method of communication between scientific communities; today, HTML is the underlying structure behind one of the most powerful cultural forces in the world. HTML is a set of standards that internet browsers use to analyze a web document and display it to the viewer. HTML5 is the newest standard, one which hopes to free browsers from the “text, image, and link” limitations of HTML that have long required the addition of other technologies such as JavaScript and Flash in producing more interactive and exciting websites. These changes will aid developers in producing more streamlined websites that still meet the needs of businesses. Here are three ways that HTML5 will improve user experiences in the context of business websites.

1. Better-integrated support for video and audio

Rich media websites are nothing new—these tools have been implemented in various clunky ways since the early days of the Internet—but HTML5 should allow for a much smoother implementation of media by offering markup tags that insert media directly in the code. Such practices could bypass the use of plugins such as Adobe Flash Player and QuickTime, delivering media more quickly to viewers without requiring them to stop and agree to the installation of software.

2. Geolocation

HTML5-compliant browsers will be able to determine the geographical location of a user. Many websites already implement this functionality, and mobile phone users are accustomed to geolocation through services such as “checking in,” but geolocation implemented into browsers through HTML5 means that the feature will not be dependent on a specific plugin or tool offered by a developer. The most significant consequence for businesses is that search engines can determine a user’s location and display helpful results from local businesses when they perform a specific search for products or services.

3. Increased mobile phone compatibility

One of the most consistent concerns among web developers, especially for businesses websites, is the implementation of Flash. This web technology allows for the delivery of rich media content through audio and video, and is often used in designing user interfaces. However, for a variety of reasons, iPhones do not support Flash. As more and more users access the Internet through their mobile phones, businesses must be prepared to have visitors view their websites on tiny mobile phone screens rather than on full-sized computer displays. While Flash may appear to be an attractive option, its lack of compatibility with the incredibly popular iPhone should be taken into account. HTML5 will not immediately offer all of the functionality of Flash applications, but it will allow the use of interactive media that was not previously possible through a browser itself, and eventually it will surpass Flash in its media capabilities. HTML5 will unify these rich media experiences under a single set of standards, increasing compatibility across both mobile phones and traditional web browsers.

Many elements of HTML5 are already recognized by browsers and are being used today. To check how well your browser uses HTML5, visit The HTML5 Test and consider upgrading—it makes life much easier for web developers!