Responsive vs adaptive website design, which is better?

Responsive Vs. Adaptive Web Design: Which one is the best?

The integration of technology into more adaptive platforms has made having a responsive website a mandatory thing for all businesses. Most of the Wigan web developing tools that we use today come with the ability to optimize your website’s layout automatically. Therefore, your visitors can view your site from any mobile devices, tablets, laptops, or desktop.

The debate now stands in whether a site should be adaptive or responsive. But before we get into the topic, you need to understand what both the terms mean.

What makes a website responsive? 

When we talk about the responsiveness of a website, it means the website layout’s ability to fit into any screen size. A responsive website automatically adjusts the site’s contents into the screen, making the viewer have an enhanced experience.

One key advantage of designing a responsive layout for developers is creating just one version of the website. The web developer does not have to recreate or reformat different layouts to fit different screen sizes. A responsive website is designed using special coding.

What does adaptive web design mean?

In adaptive web design, the website will also have the ability to adjust and fit into any screen sizes. But, instead of the content being repositioned as per the screen size, developers implement a series of fixed templates.

In adaptive design, the site uses fixed layouts, which then select the best layout based on the current screen size. Adaptive web design uses a breakpoint pattern, and when the screen reaches a specific pixel width, it adjusts into the next smaller template.

Should you opt for a responsive or adaptive design?   

Most web developers choose to work with a responsive design as it is an automated feature available is many Content Management System (CMS). But just because responsive design is the norm in most cases doesn’t mean that it does not have its share of hiccups. For instance, some businesses require pages consisting of graphics and tables which may not be responsive as required.

If we make a comparison, we will see that responsive web design does give more flexibility. Adaptive web design might not offer as much flexibility due to the limitation in layouts. In a responsive website, the contents can adjust to nearly every screen size, giving an optimized view.

With the availability of different screen sizes in different devices, it seems like a responsive website will make a better choice after all. A lot of business chooses a responsive web design because of its capability to deliver the highest-optimized and interactive user experience.

When do you need adaptive web design?  

Combining all the advantages of having a responsive web design, it seems like a safer option. The responsiveness of your site will make the page load faster. However, considering some cases, adaptive web design will be a better option for some. An adaptive design is easier to develop, so it can be a better option for smaller businesses or for start-ups.

Adaptive web design will come handy if you have a business with a specific target audience that only uses a particular device. For example, let’s take the case of a large service provider company. A service provider company will consist of a team of field executives who are issued smartphones or tablets of the same model. These smart devices will be used for receiving instructions, delivery assignments, location points, and so on.

In such a case, an adaptive site can ensure that every content in the site will adjust as per the requirement of the company’s operations. The web developer will create and design adaptive pages that are specially customized to meet the resolution and size of the mobile devices which have been issued to the field technicians.

Considering the disadvantages of a responsive site

The main disadvantage of a responsive site is that it is harder to create. Developing a responsive site requires extreme attention to details like in the CSS of the site and organization. You have to make sure that all the contents in the site function well in every device, which takes time and money.

Creating a few different layouts is easier than making a single layout that can adjust to any screen size. Although an adaptive web design requires more flexibility to adjust on different screen sizes, it is easier to make.

An adaptive design lacks flexibility

The biggest drawback of an adaptive design is that the final result does not necessarily give the best outcome in different screen sizes. Responsive websites come with the guarantee that the design will work seamlessly on every screen. The case in adaptive design is quite different, as you will be able to have an optimized experience only on those screens that comply with the layout.

Therefore, if a new screen size launches in the market, your adaptive site’s layout will not adjust to the screen. You will either have to edit your existing layout or add new ones to make the site fit into the new screen size. A responsive site will adjust on its own, but an adaptive site requires frequent maintenance and updates.

A responsive site requires less loading time

When you decide to launch a business website, the loading time is very important. A responsive site will only need to load one layout, which is functional on all platforms. The adaptive site will take a longer time to load because the different layouts will take different time to load. Loading all the extra layouts takes time, which, as a result, turns away visitors from your site.

Applying a mobile-focused formula

Responsive design is important for your site because the Google search engine picks up a website that has a mobile-first approach. Google’s algorithm first favors those sites that are designed with a mobile-optimized experience. Having a mobile-optimized site also means that your site’s ranking in the search engines will be higher. Not having a mobile-optimized site can also mean that Google might overlook your site. 

To generate sales, you will need to attract visitors and traffic to your website. But when your website does not show up in the first pages of the search results, then it will have lesser chances of people seeing it.