HTML5 for Web Designers

![HTML5 for Web Designers]( “HTML5 for Web Designers”)

I recently read Jeremy Keith’s HTML5 for Web Designers and loved it. It is a great overview of the up and coming web standard. The light, concise tone achieved through Keith’s witty brevity and Jason Santa Maria’s pitch perfect design almost make you forget that the subject is of weighty importance for anyone involved in the web design field. HTML5 is the manifestation of the recent push towards web standards, but instead of dumbing down the markup language for the benefit of the disparate qualities of today’s browsers, many advanced features previously found only in Javascript have been brought inline.

This double edged sword will make our lives easier and harder at the same time. For example the following video tag allows me to provide content to every browser and device, even Internet Explorer through a Flash embedded fallback (yeah for progressive enhancement!). But because browser makers do not agree on video formats, instead of one video and one Flash fallback I must include 2 videos, one for Safari and one for Firefox and Chrome (in the future 3 might be needed with Google’s recent release of .webm). The other issue for us designer minded folks comes in skinning the video player. Because video playback has been handed to each browser to implement how it sees fit we not only see multiple formats but multiple video player skins. For those who wish to control the look of the player simple CSS will not do, a knowledge of Javascript is necessary to override each browser’s built in player.

The bottom line is that HTML5 is pushing us forward, simplifying our lives on hand while pushing us to learn Javascript on the other hand. The major takeaway that I’ve gained from the last few months of HTML5 excitement is that a web designer’s toolkit can no longer be limited to HTML and CSS, but must now include Javascript. Guess it’s time for me to buy a book and start reading.

1. For a great overview of using HTML5 see Mark Pilgrim’s website here.