Responsive Web Design vs Adaptive Web Design

Responsive Web Design and Adaptive Web Design: Making the Right Choice For You

The seemingly endless debate of choosing between responsive web design (RWD) and adaptive web design (AWD) for adapting websites on a bevy of devices has dominated the conversations of web design masters in recent times. The rise of smartphones and the introduction of tablets has revolutionised the idea of mobile web browsing.

Responsive Web Design vs Adaptive Web Design in Subiaco and Osbourne Park

The explosion of the digital world that go beyond mere desktops and laptops and onto mobile devices and tablets has propelled organisations and designers to find new avenues of opportunities to encompass enhanced user interactions on these diminutive gadgets.

Mobile and tablet users don’t care much about the methods brands and companies use, as long as they can seamlessly navigate through websites on their devices. While both responsive web design and adaptive web design attempt to address the issue of integrating websites for alternative gadgets, subtle differences change the way they operate.

The Long Standing Debate: Responsive Web Design vs Adaptive Web Design

Both RWD and AWD prepare websites for mobiles and tablets, but in completely different ways.

Responsive Web Design: Changing Flexibility

Responsive web design begins by integrating fluid grids to produce a flexible website foundation. It also uses flexible videos and images to modify its layout to the existing viewable device. To put it simply, responsive web design fluidly changes its interface to adapt to any device or screen size flawlessly.

RWD provides an optimal viewing experience on all kinds of devices. No matter how much a screen is resized, the layout will instinctively adapt to the change.

Adaptive Web Design: Fewer Changes, More Structure 

Adaptive web design uses progressive enhancement components to express certain design approaches with a key focus on the person using it and not on the browser. AWD utilises predefined layout sizes with Javascript and CSS to adapt to the device detected. AWD doesn’t have one layout that changes – this makes it different from RWD.

There are several layouts that have been created for different screen sizes. The layout will depend on the size of the screen. For example, a layout could specifically be created for desktops, mobiles and tablets. When a user visits a website, the device type is detected and the pre-set layout is dispensed for the device. This is the route that most websites take when refitting their websites to resonate on the mobile platform.

The nature of the AWD platform empowers designers with better control over the website. AWD also gives control over the number of viewports designed. Ideally, websites would need a minimum of three viewports – low res viewports for smartphones, medium res viewports for tablets and high res viewports for laptops and desktops. Developing the adaptive layout is a simple task, because it’s almost like building a traditional website.

Differences and Similarities: How Do the Two Compare?

The most evident similarity with these two approaches is that they both enable users to view websites on different screen sizes in mobile devices and tablets – ultimately delivering a robust mobile user experience. The two approaches follow different responsive and adaptive structures, with responsive web design relying on fluid and flexible grids, while AWD relies on predetermined screen sizes.

This means that RWD requires more implementation strategies for the fluid grids along with more codes, flexible foundations and CSS. In comparison, AWD follows a rationalised and streamlined approach that uses scripting for modifying to numerous screen sizes and devices.

RWD is certainly the more difficult task because it needs attention to the CSS and organisation of a website to ensure that it adapts to different sizes. It is easier to create pre-defined layouts for a website, instead of creating a fluid layout that resonates with all sizes.

RWD sites are guaranteed for all screen sizes and devices, including new introductions to the market, while AWD is slightly less flexible in this regard. They primarily work on the specified screens designed for the layout.

Making a Decision

Both web design models have their merits and limitations. For example, smaller and newer websites will find that AWD models are easier to make. The smaller size also means faster load times, but in some cases they are not as flexible.

Some websites may find the responsive web design model more adaptive and flexible, but it also means an extra investment. Web designers and organisations must make a decision based on their specific requirements. Finally, brands must consider their audience before adopting any web design technology. Once they know more about their market, they can choose between responsive web design and adaptive web design for their layouts.

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