If your web site has video on it, I believe the time has come to take into consideration viewers using mobile devices if you’ve not done it already. The desktop is no longer the only platform for viewing video, and Flash, long dominant as the web video standard (at least as far as web standards go), excludes many of the newer mobile devices like the iPhone and iPad. In order to respond to this, your site should embrace the latest standards, especially HTML5, therefore, I suggest transitioning to using HTML5 compliant standards with the appropriate fallbacks to support older browsers. In this way, you can provide rich media content to the widest range of viewers, regardless of the desktop or mobile browser they are using. The time is right to do this, as almost half of all Web Users are Ready for HTML5 and the numbers will continue to grow in favor of HTML5. I plan to update my own site over the next six months. Any transition takes time, but I believe now is the time to start the wheels in motion.
For a good basic introduction to HTML 5, see Dive into HTML5 by Mark Pilgrim. Rich media and dynamic web content has outgrown the ability of HTML 4 to describe the content of web pages. Video, audio, and dynamic interfaces that rival desktop applications are now commonplace. By adding additional HTML elements, HTML5 will provide web developers with a better way to describe the content of a web page. Significant new features include <video> and <audio> elements, improved forms handling, a <canvas> element that allows image scripting on the fly, and new ways of marking pages to support user interaction.
Video, especially, should be shown with a video player that is HTML5 compliant in order to include the new generation of mobile devices like the Android, iPhone, and iPad. With the right HTML5 player you can support HTML5 for these devices and newer browsers but fallback and use Flash in the event the viewer is using an older browses. Two examples of video players capable of this include the JW Player for HTML5 and the Kaltura HTML5 Video Library.
Industry players are currently debating the merits of HTML5. Apple, with its large deployment of iPhones and the iPad growing in popularity, neither of which supports Flash, has taken a strong position in favor of HTML5. Even after you factor away Job’s famous reality distortion field, he still makes a compelling argument for embracing HTML5, although Adobe might disagree.
Image source: HTML 5 Video Element – New Open Video Format Tags by Mark R. Robertson.