Responsive Or Adaptive – Which Is The Best Web Design Trend For Your Website?

Recent researches show that mobile Internet usage will overtake desktop Internet usage by 2015. People are using Tablets and Smartphones to access the Internet more often, and this is causing the downfall of desktop computers. This shift in structure is not a big issue for the common masses, but business owners must become very cautious. If they fail to take immediate action, they will end up taking huge losses. Why is it so?

Business websites, when viewed from mobile devices, must fit their smaller and limited screen sizes. If mobile Internet users cannot view your business website properly, they will come out and visit another relevant website. This is the reason you should optimize your desktop website for your mobile customers. And you have actually two options in hand; you can either go for responsive design techniques or choose to apply adaptive design techniques.

Responsive Web Design

The term “Responsive Web Design” came into the limelight in the article ‘A List Apart’, written by famous designer and developer Ethan Marcotte. In this article, he stated that some essential web elements (such as media queries, fluid grids and CSS3) could change a website’s flexibility. When a designer incorporates these special elements into a web page, the layout becomes fluid enough to change and respond to fit the screen size of any device.

This means that a mobile Internet user can view a responsive website without worrying about the screen size of his mobile device.

Adaptive Web Design

The term “Adaptive Web Design” came into the limelight in the book ‘Adaptive Web Design’, written by Aaron Gustafson. In this book, he stated that this design method uses the components of progressive enhancement. Unlike the responsive design techniques that focus on the browsers, adaptive design techniques completely focus on the users. Adaptive design works with pre-defined layouts that are similar to the screen sizes of some selected mobile devices.

This means that adaptive web design is effective only on selected mobile devices while responsive web design is effective on any mobile device.

Responsive or Adaptive

Now, here comes the real question: “Which trend should you use in your website?

Responsive design techniques are costlier than the adaptive design techniques, as responsive coding takes a longer time. If you are in favor of adaptive design, you have to find the devices that your mobile visitors are using to view your website. You can start working on the adaptive techniques once you find out these devices using Google Analytics.

Adaptive technique is the best solution for a small business with a limited budget and a limited customer-base. But if you are a large-scale business, it will become tough even for Google Analytics to give you the data about every mobile device. If you can afford responsive web design, I strongly suggest that you should go for it. Once you apply responsive techniques in your website, your customers can view your website using any mobile device.


Author: Aston Abraham