Real Estate Connect is always a whirlwind, and this year was no exception. There are always fantastic speakers and tons of great content, and it’s impossible to attend every workshop and session. However, I always make a point at the conference to grab a good seat for Brad Inman’s keynote. I was particularly interested in Brad’s keynote this year. He discussed the post-PC era, and how tablets and smartphones are reshaping our lives and how we consume content.

The post-PC era and mobile technologies are the leading catalysts for the open Web and cross-platform applications.

I participated in a session at a Real Estate Connect technology workshop titled "HTML5 vs. Flash: Is Flash Dead?" Ori Staub, the technology director at Active Website, also joined me on stage as we discussed many topics, including the current HTML standards, video, CSS3, JavaScript, app development, and more.

During the Q-and-A portion, I learned that many website owners in the audience still utilized Adobe Flash on their real estate websites and did not have a mobile version.

As you may know, Apple does not allow Adobe Flash to run on its iPhone, iPad and iPod devices, and Flash performs notoriously poor on other mobile devices, too. Ori and I both agree that removing Flash from real estate sites would be extremely advantageous — especially if you do not have a mobile version of your website.

Ori said that in considering Flash vs. HTML5, "I would recommend tracking HTML5 development to stay up to date with its capabilities. It may be a few years before your main website will be done in HTML5. This is not the case with mobile site development, which can currently take advantage of HTML5 on most platforms.

"For now, simply understand that Flash has limitations in the browser and should be removed from your home page. There is probably no reason to use it."

Three tips for dumping Flash:

1. Remove Flash from your home page
Many real estate websites contain animated slide shows on the home page that were developed in Flash. These can be replaced with other platforms such as CSS, JavaScript and jQuery. This change is very feasible and can typically be executed by a Web administrator or technology vendor.

Replacing the Flash elements on your home page can also result in a more engaging mobile experience for users and even improve search engine optimization (SEO).

2. Image galleries
Image galleries created in Adobe Flash are extremely common on listing detail pages. Similar to the home page slide show, these can be replaced with CSS, JavaScript and jQuery. Image galleries developed in these scripting languages are super-slick and perform well on mobile devices.

Here’s an example of a simple jQuery slide show developed by the United Kingdom design studio CraftedPixelz, and a more advanced plug-in, Nivo Slider, created by Dev7studios.

3. Video
If you include property videos or other video content on your site, both YouTube and Vimeo offer HTML5 video players that work great in desktop and mobile browsers. There are also many video solutions available such as WellcomeMat that will publish and distribute videos across multiple devices. These services do an excellent job at facilitating the high-tech stuff, such as transcoding.

Implementing these three changes to your real estate website will improve your SEO and usability across mobile devices. The post-PC era is in its infancy.

Dan Woolley, founder at W&R Studios who moderated the HTML5 vs. Flash panel at Real Estate Connect, stated, "Some great advice I heard from the HTML5 panel was to make sure you buy or borrow an iPad and see how your site looks to consumers visiting from that device. That’s the first impression you’re giving more and more potential clients every day."

As we move closer to the cloud and dive even further into mobile, cross-platform apps will be imperative.

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