The increasing popularity of Apple’s iPhone and iPad – neither of which supports Adobe Flash and Microsoft Silverlight – has piqued interest in HTML5 as an open source solution for creating Rich Internet Applications (RIAs). Steve Jobs’ recent attack on Flash as being unfit for the iPhone calls into question the long-term value of player-based application platforms. But can HTML5 really replace Flash and Silverlight?
To understand the user experience pros and cons of HTML5, Rich Gans – one of our Researchers serving customer experience professionals – talked to designers and developers at Cynergy Systems, EffectiveUI, Roundarch, and Yahoo! who are building complex online functionality. We have just published the results of this research in a report entitled “HTML 5: Is There Any Truth To The Hype?”
The truth is that while HTML5 is promising and can help improve experiences for text-based content, it is not yet a viable alternative to player-based technologies for designing rich, highly functional user experiences.
The downside to using HTML5 today is that it:
- Could lead to inconsistent experiences across today’s browsers
- Will require that users download a browser that supports the technology
- Compromises performance for graphics-heavy experiences
However, there are a few places where HTML5 can help improve user experiences today, including:
- Experiences for people with disabilities
- Apps that are solely intended for Apple devices
- Producing text-heavy sites that require text resizing
The net of this is that, for now, HTML5 is not a viable platform for delivering the next generation RIAs that will power the future of online customer experience. Forrester recommends using HTML5 as a way to enhance text-based content experiences while looking to more established technologies like Flash and Silverlight to build highly functional applications.