Mobile web design: Responsive vs. adaptive

mobile web design

mobile web design

The growing prevalence of mobile traffic has made it important for businesses to invest in the development of a mobile-optimized website. After all, more purchases than ever before as being made through the use of smartphones. So, with two primary methods of mobile optimization currently being used to service developing websites, the question remains whether you should invest in responsive or adaptive web design. 

What is the difference between these two designs?

Responsive and adaptive web designs both serve a purpose when it comes to the functionality and fluidity of a professional website. But how do they differ?

When you break down the fundamentals of the following designs, some subtle elements affect the fluidity of the webpage. For example, if you take your fingers and drag the corners of the browser to adjust the size of the window, note what happens to the content on the page. If the text boxes and images scale down or shuffle upon this action, you have a responsive design. However, if nothing changes or moves until you the browser reaches a certain size, then you have an adaptive design. 

Breaking down the characteristics of a responsive web design 

Developers building a responsive web design use a single layout, allowing them to scale it up or down based on the needs of the device resolution and through techniques like media queries and CSS manipulation. For example, they can build it so that the image on the page will always take up 30% which would guarantee to catch all current and future optimization possibilities. While responsive web designs are a lot of work at first, designing layouts for what seems like infinite screen sizes, it’s far easier to maintain in the long-run. As long as the responsive design implementation is made successful, the changes will seamlessly work across all resolutions and ensure that your efforts are counterbalanced against the need for any ongoing maintenance. 

Breaking down the characteristics of an adaptive web design

Developers building an adaptive website will often create a handful of static layout designs for the pages, allowing the website to load the relevant one based on the resolution or screen size of the user. This will allow the defined layout build for varying screens to be seen clearly and concisely regardless of the device or monitor size that’s being used. Although one of the drawbacks of this method is that there are always new devices being developed, thus screen sizes of favored devices will continue to change over time. So, if you choose to use an adaptive design, you will need to keep on top of new developments in the industry to avoid imperfections or inconsistencies with your mobile web design. 

So, which method will you go for? 

Ultimately, the ideal mobile web design method comes down to your budget and preference. If you’re starting a website from scratch, responsive is the way to go. However, if you’re simply trying to make your current website optimize across varied screens, an adaptive approach is best suited for your needs. 

So, are you ready to hire a developer to build you something truly unique? 

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