Kickstarter switches to HTML5 video by default, will only serve Flash to old browsers

Kickstarter switches to HTML5 video by default, will only serve Flash to old browsers

Kickstarter today announced it is swapping around the order of technology used to serve videos to desktop browsers. The crowdsourcing platform is choosing to serve HTML5 video first, and Flash second.

Up until now, Kickstarter served its project videos to desktop machines using Flash, and only if Flash was not detected, it would fall back to an HTML5 video element. Now it is “inverting this logic” and will only serve Flash videos if users’ browsers “are so old they don’t support the video tag (including some versions of Firefox that don’t support h.264).”

Kickstarter has been building up its own HTML5 player “for a couple weeks.” First the company served it to those who didn’t have Flash installed, in order to work out the UX and bugs with a small set of users, and then it rolled it out to its employees as well. Now it’s ready for everyone else.

Kickstarter lists a few reasons for its decision to dump Flash for HTML5:

  • Most mobile devices do not support Flash. Kickstarter argues it’s simpler to use the same software on both the desktop and mobile.
  • Some computers do not ship with Flash. Kickstarter doesn’t want to require users to install software to use its website.
  • Kickstarter says it has never had an in-house Flash developer because most of its client-side code is written in JavaScript. Every time the company wanted to redesign its Flash player or add a new feature, it has had to ask an outside consultant, which naturally took more time.
  • Flash is insecure. Due to, it’s extremely easy to accidentally allow the execution of Javascript sent via a param.

Kickstarter still uses Flash for other features on its site (such as when uploading media). That being said, the company says it will work to remove those Flash requirements, but wouldn’t give a timeframe.

See also – Planning a Kickstarter campaign? Read this first and Why Kickstarter and crowdfunding can’t replace traditional investors

Top Image Credit: Gary Scott

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