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HTML5 or Flash? Time to choose

This battle has been happening for quite some time, not only for web development but also for eLearning development and deployment as well, but due to some recent events and personal experiences, I think the time to choose between HTML5 and Flash, has come (or at least, in my daily context, this decision is only happening now).

Unfortunately, the making of this decision is not only up to us, but up to our clients as well. I remember a couple of years ago, we were tasked with creating this eLearning games, to reinforce some training programs our client was offering. The only caveat was, that they wanted these games to work on desktop computers AND mobile devices. With only that information, one could think that creating an HTML5 version of the games, is more than enough, however, the client’s desktop computers didn’t have (at that time) browsers compatible with HTML5. Our solution? Code the games in both HTML5 and Flash.

The above was a clear example of why we can’t make this decision only having in mind what we think it’s the best for the product (and ultimately for our clients), but also it depends on the client’s capabilities of deploying these products.

However, what has been happening lately is that most of the flash content we produce for eLearning modules (depending on the authoring tool you are using, almost usually the modules are published for Flash, rather than HTML5, unless you specify it) is being ‘rejected’ by the browsers, specially Google Chrome. But rejected how? Well, sometimes the content is blocked, sometimes the content doesn’t play smoothly, and if you don’t have the correct version of Flash player, you can’t simply see the content, you’ll need to install a newer version of Flash, and if you don’t have admin privileges, good luck!

That’s why I say it’s time to choose, and lead our customers to upgrade their hardware, if necessary, to be able to access eLearning modules. But there’s only so much we can do on that end. Instead, what we can do is to ensure our developers are using the latest eLearning rapid authoring tools (or tools in general) that enable them to create and publish for HTML5.

Of course, the advantages are tremendous, since current browsers already come ready to play HTML5 content, clients won’t need to install third party plugins to enjoy our eLearning modules, and obviously, cross-platform implementation becomes much easier, especially when it comes to eLearning modules, since we only develop once, and barely have to worry about responsiveness.

Several months ago I thought this conversion from Flash to HTML5 was still a slow ongoing process, but I have been proved wrong and the time to create eLearning modules compatible with this technology, is now.

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