The document sharing site Scribd has extolled the virtues of its move away from Adobe’s Flash technology, and towards HTML5, earlier this month. Today at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference, company CTO and cofounder Jared Friedman offered even more insight into how HTML5 is helping to make its product better.
Friedman started off by delivering an impressive stat: Users now spend more than twice as long on Scribd as they did two weeks ago, thanks to the HTML5 improvements.
As VentureBeat previously noted, the addition of HTML5 allows Scribd to reproduce documents with new font and vector graphics features without turning them into images. Friedman showed off exactly how that will help users: The text is now searchable within your browser, and able to be highlighted for easy copying and pasting. It may seem strange that such simple features prompt such a strong increase in usage, but it is a big shift in the way documents are displayed on the Web.
HTML5 also allows for increased compatibility across devices, since most browsers support the new HTML tags. Friedman showed off an upcoming issue of Forbes running on an iPad, which appeared no different than a native iPad magazine app.
In addition, Scribd can now include interactive ad blocks within its documents thanks to HTML5. The ads can be integrated almost seamlessly into the content; Friedman showed off a Liquid Comics title that integrated relevant ads into comic-like frames. They appear to function more like typical web ads, instead of something hardcoded into a PDF document.
Friedman went on to say that HTML5 is poised to become the “lingua franca” of written content. Given its wide compatibility, and other benefits over Flash, I’m inclined to believe him.
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