Adaptive Vs. Responsive Web Design – Which Approach Is Best Suited For Your Website

In Today’s scenario, website accessibility is one of the most debating topics in web development all over the world. After the popularity of mobile web browsing, the practice of having multiple url (versions) of the website to meet the requirements of all the different mobile devices out there is already on its way out. And hence, responsive website design trend is in complete impact and people are adopting it to work well at low resolutions.

As the mobile and tablet users are growing day by day, it is compulsory for every business owner or entrepreneur that the website should work at its best in every resolution, whether in small screen (mobile or tablet) or in bigger sized screen (desktop or laptops).

Both Adaptive and Responsive approaches for web designing render mobile friendly websites, although there are some dissimilarities which make them two different entities.

Let’s get Familiar with these one by one.

Responsive Website Design (RWD)

By modifying the CSS code of the website, RWD allows web pages to adjust as per the operating system and the layout of the browser it’s being viewed on. RWD follows the liquid approach as the liquid expands or contracts to fit the available space when it is poured into the container.

The advantages of implementing RWD are:

  1. Consistency throughout various platforms with easier navigation.
  2. Reduced development time and cost as to maintain single URL for multiple platforms.
  3. Enhanced SEO by optimizing all web page views through one URL
  4. User friendly and effective for social sharing.

Since the images and other high bandwidth features are merely scaled, not resized or eliminated, the load time in RWD is high which the most significant drawback of it is. And therefore some non vital elements to the user may cause poor performance.

Adaptive Web Design (AWD)

The Adaptive Website Designing technique can be used as an alternative to drawbacks in RWD. AWD is used where we need to create a website which is pertinent to a variety to different platforms and layouts with improved user experience through better performance. AWD uses server to detect the device where the website is being viewed. Unlike RWD, AWD uses server response to determine how to provide the best result as per user experience by only delivering vital elements that are important and compatible for specific devices and operating system. Rather than scalable vision, images and other elements are resized and optimized and hence give improved result. Some elements like JavaScript or Flash may be discarded and ads can be adjusted, sometimes gives a much different version of site then one may see it in desktop version.

This is the advantage of the AWD approach over RWD that the user only sees the wanted content other useless elements for mobile user are not shown or discarded and hence boost up the performance.

RWD and AWD Implementation

RWD is used where we want mobile users to look over the information which we are sharing. It is used as an interactive approach for its user to check out their content and services. Whereas AWD approach is used where mobile users check out the information and products quickly or buy goods.

Another important advantage of AWD is the quick and easy response where some websites want to deliver different experiences for mobile and desktop versions without compromising on quality. However, even after the advancements in the latest technology in AWD, there are still some issues which sometimes lead to the worse performance as the result is depends upon network strength and latency. If mobile site is transmitting bulk data in low network strength, this results in slow response time and hence lower the performance.

Determining which approach is best suited for your website is completely depends upon the strategy and users you are targeting. If your target is the engagement of users, that is you have lots of information and content to share then you should go for responsive website design as it is used for user interaction without having much functionality. RWD is comparatively low cost and time saving approach. On the other side, if you are targeting conversions from mobile users with eCommerce and other complex functions then AWD approach is definitely a better idea provided you can afford cost and additional time.

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