Fact-checking the 40%

Last week I riffed on an infographic which erroneously claimed that Flash is “supported on 99% of web browsers”.

They compared that number to 40%, which is supposedly the amount of web browsers that “HTML5 is supported by”.

Oh really, now?

What is “support”?

First of all, the phrase “support HTML5” is terrible - what does that even mean? To the best of my knowledge there isn’t any browser (of the big ones) that doesn’t support at least some part of HTML5 in some way. Yes, even IE6.

The problem is, HTML5 is a complex thing composed of many different parts. Some browsers support some parts better than others - some, not so much.

It’s all about games

So let’s focus.

The infographic purports that Flash is better than HTML5 for games. The HTML5 canvas is what you’d use for drawing 2D shapes and whatnot for games, so I am going out on limb here and guess that what they’re looking at is support for canvas.

Thankfully, it’s fairly easy to get statistics on the market penetration for browsers supporting the HTML5 canvas element. caniuse.com has a nifty table showing exactly that.

According to that table, 69% of browsers support the canvas element.

40 != 69 && 99 != 96 && 69 < 96

The claimed 40% is a long shot from the actual 69%. Sure, it’s way less than the 96% potential market penetration Flash can achieve.

As I wrote in my last post, I don’t really care whether Flash is better than HTML5 for whatever you want to use it for. All the more power to you - as long as you don’t claim to be making websites with Flash.

But I do care about people being mislead with made uppoorly researched numbers and claims. Unfortunately, the infographic from OneMoreLevel.com seems to have plenty of those.