We’re at the Tipping Point…

maybe beyond it.

This is the last semester I’ll be teaching HTML 4.01 Transitional. Oh, I’ll still be teaching Web I from a coding point of view. It’s just that moving forward I’ll be teaching HTML 5.0.

So why now?

For years HTML 5.0 has been a little understood idea. More of a buzzword discussed during meetings, around the coffee machine, and everywhere else that designers gather rather than a viable working coding language. It was easier to say what it was not than to say exactly what it was. Many just passed it off as jargon. A meaningless term used to confuse and deflect questions. While this was going on we’d see little glimpses of features that it was supposed to provide with little insight or examples of it in practical use. However, a couple of things have changed.

On a personal, level teaching a Web III class has forced me to gain a clearer understanding of HTML 5.0 so I could answer students’ questions. One of the misleading things about it is that at first glance it looks quite a bit like HTML 4.01. Which makes sense, HTML 4.01 is the foundation that it’s built on. To get and be able to give a clear picture of HTML 5.0 I began to create a PowerPoint presentation to use to be able to show the differences between it and it’s earlier ancestor HTML 4.01. This turned into an hour and a half presentation that took over 75 slides. I had to pull information from multiple sources and organize it in a way that made sense to me. The information was out there but it was scattered across a dozen sites.

Now, just before I started to create this presentation, I’d created another concerning current Web design trends. With that fresh in my mind I began to see the connections between HTML 5.0, trends in Web design, and the reasons that both are what they are.

So, again why now? Why is HTML 5.0 the way to move forward?

I think the two biggest factors are browser integration and the rise of responsive Web design.

Browser integration is the easier to understand. Until recently not all browsers would read HTML 5.0 code and interpret it correctly. What good is writing code that can only be understood by a few Web browsers? Well, that’s changed. All modern browsers read and display HTML 5.0 code correctly.

Harder to understand is responsive Web design which creates pages that scale to be shown on multiple platforms correctly. That is the pages change to display on a monitor or a tablet or a smartphone in a way that they are still functional and readable. This site is responsive. You can read this page equally well on a tablet or smartphone and not just a monitor. This is not just desirable, it’s critical! If you track PC sales compared to tablets and phones, the PCs are on a downward trend while tablets and phone sales are skyrocketing. It has become absolutely necessary to design for multiple platforms. HTML 5.0 has been created to facilitate this transition. There are things you just can’t do in HTML 4.01 that are essential for responsive design.

Responsive Web design and HTML 5.0 also have a direct correlation to modern trends in Web design. However, what they are and how responsive design and HTML 5.0 are a major factors and why is a topic for another day. For now all of the sites I design moving forward will be HTML 5.0 and I’ll soon be starting to rewrite my class notes for Web I.

What do you think?

A Redesign Begins…

Everything is going to change. I’m teaching a Web III class at Moore College of Art & Design and I’ll be formatting this blog as an example and as part of restructuring my business.

Tonight will be the first class to deal with WordPress. We’ll be covering the basics – choosing a theme, creating posts, adding widgets, customizing the page, adding pages, etc.

My hope is to not only teach the class the inner workings of WordPress but to come out the other side with a viable working blog that will support my other efforts on the Web.