The last few years have seen many changes on the Internet. Advanced online media, especially video, is proliferating websites and changing the way users experience the web. Most people believe this is a positive change, but not every website owner or designer is prepared for the impact.
In the past, Adobe’s Flash technology has been the most widespread way to distribute and embed video and other rich media into websites. Adoption has never been at 100%, but Flash was the de facto standard, and no other solution existed to reach the widest audience.
Fueled by the rapid adoption of the iPhone and iPod Touch which lack support for Flash, the new HTML5 specification is quickly gaining support and usage as the new, improved way to distribute video and other rich media on the Internet. Indeed, this new technology is the only way to target mobile devices such as the iPhone, iPod Touch, and the new iPad.
Support for HTML5 is not yet universal, but web browser manufacturers are catching up quickly. While it is important to embrace the future and deliver rich media in a modern, efficient way, website owners and designers should take care not to alienate users who are still on older technology. Clever use of browser testing can ensure that users who can experience video with the new technology get that experience, while guaranteeing those who aren't there yet can still enjoy the media the older way.