Responsive Web Design vs Adaptive Web Design What Are the Differences?

Responsive Web Design vs Adaptive Web Design

Whether a website uses a responsive web design or an adaptive web design it is extremely important that your site is optimized for the mobile web, otherwise you’ll lose visitors who are using their smart phones or tablets in hopes of getting some quick info. Before taking measures to make your site easier to view on mobile devices, you first need to decide which design to use. There are two approaches to take, Mobile Web Design or Adaptive Web Design.

A mobile web design makes your text, images, and site functions easy to view for people using a handheld device, while still remaining efficient for laptop and desktop viewers. This often involves incorporating tools and functions that smartphones offer, and essentially catering o mobile users. Ideally, this approach would not reduce the effectiveness of the site viewing experience on full-sized computers.

People who are visiting your site from their mobile device want information to be easily accessible without having to sift through big blocks of text to find what they need, or navigate through multiple sub pages to get where they want to be. This means it’s important to reduce the amount of options on your site, because to a mobile user, much of it would simply be clutter.

Google pays attention to how your site is designed and whether or not it can easily accommodate mobile users. For a mobile web design, there are three things that the site must be able to do in order to rank well:

  1. Viewers must be able to read text and view images without zooming or scrolling
  2. Buttons or executable links must be spaced apart enough
  3. There should be no unplayable content

Adaptive Web Design:
Different Versions for Different Mobile Devices

An adaptive web design is made up of more than one version of the same site. When you open the page, the site determines what kind of device you’re using and presents you with the right design to fit your screen. It loads all three versions at the same time, so loading time for an adaptive site can be significantly longer than with a responsive web design.

Responsive Web Design:
One Dynamic Design that Reshapes Itself for Different Devices

A responsive web design uses only one HTML code and URL. It functions with all kinds of devices by using what are called fluid grids. That means no matter what your screen size, and whether its perspective is vertical or horizontal, you can still view the site and it will fit well on your screen. The website’s morphing of content is all done automatically and instantaneously. Pictures automatically readjust, and the viewer can simply scroll through like normal.

Responsive Web Design vs Adaptive Web Design:
Which One is Actually Better?

First of all, Google prefers responsive web design, so your site will likely rank higher with a responsive design. Another advantage to a responsive web design is that it is easier and less costly to maintain. If you are using a CMS like WordPress, once the theme is “tweaked” most new pages and updates to existing pages will automatically be mobile friendly.

Responsive web designs are flexible, dynamic, modern and efficient to maintain. One site means less up front cost and updates are significantly quicker. From a user standpoint, it can be hard to tell the difference without reviewing code, but Google has its ways of understanding how effective and useful a particular website is, and that’s what matters most. If you’re interested in building or rebuilding your site, we wholeheartedly recommend using a responsive web design.

Ready to get started?