Why HTML5 and CSS3

Posted by Dambar Thapa on January 31, 2012

Since the first time I heard about HTML5 and CSS3, I have been exploring them very keenly. At the same time, I have been trying to re-educate my clients but that has not been so easy. It is sad that most clients still ask for the following:

1. Validate HTML as Strict or Transitional.
2. Validate CSS.
3. Make the website meet Accessibility Level 2+.
4. Make it look the same across all browsers.

For almost a decade, we, as designers and developers, have been educating our clients on the above points and it is difficult to re-direct the path we earlier started. Nevertheless, the time has now come to re-educate our clients and that must be done.

Html5 CSS3 Illustration

As technology evolves, so does the art and craft of Web Design. It is no more like what we did in 2004 or 2006. New technology creates new challenges that require new solutions. Often, we’re working in unfamiliar territory where the demanded solutions are new and unproven. Other times, we’re faced with problems of a more universal nature — problems that have a history. So that some of those problems can be taken care of, HTML5 and CSS3 are now here with the following primary advantages:

1. Usage of HTML5 and CSS3 makes websites more device-friendly and accessible.
2. It accelerates the development process which helps us wrap our project faster with higher standards.
3. It helps in making websites future proof.

Also, HTML5 and CSS3 help us in fulfilling the following two important objectives of modern web design:

1. Availability of websites in all major browsers and devices.
2. Usability of websites so that not only are they accessible but are also user-friendly.

The Web is a flexible medium, and rightly so. We should embrace its flexibility rather than set boundaries in our mindset and in our designs. There are so many remarkable approaches we can take today: be it responsive designs with CSS3 media queries, rich Web typography (with full support today!) or HTML5 video and audio. And, there are also many other useful tools and resources that we can leverage to incorporate new technologies in our designs; while still supporting older browsers.

There is just no reason not to use HTML5 and CSS3. We should design for the future and we should design for today — making sure that our progressive designs work well in modern browsers and work fine in older browsers. Our only mistakes would then be: clinging to the past and trying to work with the old nasty hacks and workarounds that will become obsolete very soon.

Also, gathering from my past experience, people still follow the trends that were followed 4 years ago because of many factors like fear factor, validation factor, “too early” factor, etc.

Whatever the factors that keep us from daring into these new CSS3 styles or new HTML5 coding techniques need to be gotten over. Plain and simple. We need to move on and start using CSS3 and HTML5 today. If we get stuck in our limited ways of looking at situations, we are bound to continue falling short of the full potential of ourselves and our fields.

Admittedly, I believe in faith factor myself — how about you? And, what CSS3 or HTML5 features are you going to incorporate into your next design? Or, are you not ready for all this yet?