What Every Creative Professional Needs to Know About HTML5

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Thinking of moving into interactive design? You’ve heard about it, but there are a lot of different applications and languages out there. So where should you start? Familiarize yourself with today’s web standard: HTML5.

HTML5 is an essential component of responsive web design — an approach that delivers an optimized experience across all devices so that you don’t have to build separate desktop and mobile-optimized sites. More businesses are embracing responsive web design because it is cost-effective and efficient. And that means there’ll be more demand in the hiring market for creative and tech pros with HTML5 skills.

What is HTML5?

HTML (HyperText Markup Language) is not a programming language, but a “markup language” that uses simple codes embedded within the text to format a web page. It essentially “describes” data to a web browser; the browser then uses that information to display the content on a website. Or to put it another way: HTML is the scaffolding that holds together a website. (CSS, a style sheet language, is used to create the look and formatting of web pages.)

HTML5 is the latest version of HTML — and the first update in more than a decade (a long time in web years). With HTML5, you can now create web pages that support the latest multimedia using standard technologies and techniques supported in all major web browsers. Users will no longer have to download third-party plugins — and possibly viruses or other security threats — to enjoy interactive content.

Some of the best additions in HTML5 include:

  • Easy media playback, such as video and audio
  • Support for image manipulation
  • More emphasis on styling capabilities to enable the creation of beautiful web designs
  • Enhancements to forms (such as the ability to put placeholder text in an input field to specify the type of data that field should contain)

Learning Resources

There are plenty of great resources to help you learn HTML5 (it’s beneficial to understand the basics of HTML first). Here are a few of the best:

  • The W3C’s HTML5 specification is expansive, and a little daunting, but it is the definitive reference source for HTML5. If you’re not sure how something should work, this is the place to look.
  • W3Schools offers comprehensive step-by-step instructions for learning HTML5.
  • HTML & CSS by Jon Duckett is a handbook for reading and writing HTML5 and CSS3. It presents the material in an easy-to-follow, approachable fashion for a non-programming audience.
  • Tuts+ offers a pile of HTML5 tutorials. Much of the information is task-specific and can help if you’re trying to achieve a particular effect — such as vibration for a mobile device.

HTML5 is at the heart of the modern Web and the interactive user experience. You don’t need to invest much time or money to get a handle on HTML5. The effort will be well worth it, as it will make you more marketable as a creative professional.

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Tags: HTML, Tech Tips