Responsive or Adaptive Web Design

Responsive or Adaptive Web Design

Over the past year, it seems like the whole world has gone mobile. Regardless of how closely or loosely or you have followed the mass changes made by Google, I’m sure you have probably heard the phrase “responsive web design” and the sudden importance of having a mobile-friendly website.

With more than 50% of all web searches now being conducted using a mobile-device, users are also five times more likely to leave your website if it isn’t mobile friendly which sadly confirms the shift of how websites will be designed and built going forward.

However, whilst responsive web design is the most common method, there has also been a shift in the number websites built using Adaptive Web Design which has become the second most popular choice which is also supported by Google.

If you are unfamiliar with Adaptive web design, don’t worry, inside our blog our Cheshire web design agency will cover what adaptive web design is, why it’s different to responsive web design and more importantly what makes it different.

What Is Adaptive Web Design?

Adaptive Web Design GraphicInstead of creating one layout which responds to a screen size, Adaptive Web Design has several layouts built specifically around the most common screen widths and adjusts based on the device. Once a user visits an adaptive website, this will trigger each layout which remains on standby until the website calculates the type of device that is requesting to visit the website the delivers a specific layout which has been purposely built for that particular device offering more control of what content shows up on what device.

Generally, you would design an adaptive website for six common screen widths which would consist of 320px, 480px, 760px, 960px, 1200px and 1600px.

For example, if you think of responsive design of a ball being thrown through various sized hoops; adaptive design will have several sized balls which would be thrown depending on the size of the hoop.

How is Responsive Web Design Different?

Good question. Instead of having several pre-built layouts sat waiting to load, responsive web design has one layout which implements fluid, proportion-based grids which requires page element sizing defined by percentages. When loading, the website will adjust to the percentage needed and provides an optimal viewing and interaction experience across just about every device.

Responsive Web Design vs Adaptive Web Design

Responsive Adaptive Web Design Comparison

Image Credit: Webdesign Ledger

Adaptive Offers More Content Control

So having already discussed how adaptive design incorporates numerous different sizes, this presents web developers with the opportunity to have more freedom by choosing what content can be displayed on what device. Examples may include a removing a complicated piece of HTML functionality from the mobile version to ensure the speed is maintained or including exclusive desktop driven promotional content that only desktop users will see.

Whilst you do have this option with responsive design, it will take a serious amount of effort and a lot of time from your local Cheshire web design agency which could become expensive.

Responsive Offer More Flexibility

Responsive websites will always work on any screen-size and that includes any new sizes that will be released in the future. Adaptive web design may not always fit perfectly across a variety of screen sizes which may include a brand driven product or any future screen sizes. The major difference here is because adaptive web design has several fixed layouts, you will either need to adjust one accordingly or continue to create new layouts for each new device.

Adaptive Can Load Your Website Faster

If you do your homework, this point can become a little misleading. If you strip your adaptive layout for a mobile device, you can argue that it will load faster because things such as images will have been optimized which will have an effect on speed. However, if you are matching a fully functioning adaptive website with a fully responsive one, responsive can become slightly faster due to adaptive having to display a particular version of the layout to meet the user requirements.

Responsive Has A Universal Presence

Because responsive web design is now a universal phrase coined throughout the web design industry, there will be far more designs, themes and pieces of functionality that can be integrated onto just about any website on just about any platform. For small businesses who are looking to save on money or for those of you who consider yourself a web developer beginner, having such a universal presence present so many options, creativity and support.

The Conclusion

As a Cheshire web agency, our professional opinion in most scenarios is to always choose a responsive website over an adaptive one. We do have clients who have an adaptive website but that was to suite the requirements of their website better but it most cases responsive will always win.

If you are not sure if your website is responsive, here is an easy, free tool to use from Google who also provide a free report. If you are looking to turn your website into a fully responsive or adaptive website, why not get in touch with your local Cheshire web agency? Give us a call on 01565 653616 or sign up to our bi-monthly newsletter for more tips on how to grow your website.