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Responsive vs Adaptive Web Design: What’s the Difference and Which Is Better?

With cell phone sales down two years in a row, the tech industry is scrambling to make the next big device.

Web design must be nimble to keep up. As device sizes and capabilities change, it is critical to still present information in a user-friendly way.

Both responsive and adaptive web design offer this capability, so how do you know which is right for you?

Here is a breakdown of responsive vs adaptive web design.

What Is Responsive Web Design?

Responsive web design creates a custom experience for every user. Responsive websites are built using a fluid grid design. The layout of the page will automatically adjust to the size of the screen that the user has.

Using this technique, the elements of the web page will have a consistent look. All functions of the site will look the same, whether the user has a large desktop monitor or a smartphone.

What is Adaptive Web Design?

Adaptive web design also customizes sites to an individual user’s device, but in a different way. If you consider the different types of devices like desktops, laptops, tablets, and phones there is generally little size difference within each category.

In adaptive design, the designer will create several different versions of the site. Each version is targeted toward a type of screen. So if you visit the site with your desktop, you’ll get a different version than that of a smartphone.

The designs will still look very similar, but optimized for different screen sizes.

Responsive vs Adaptive Web Design: Pros and Cons

Each type of design has different pros. Responsive web designs offer consistency and have better SEO results. Adaptive web designs load faster for the user and give the designer more control over the look of the page.

There are cons to each style as well. Responsive websites take more time to develop and some images may still get skewed. Meanwhile, adaptive sites offer less flexibility and could harm SEO results due to duplicate pages.

Which Is Right for You?

If you are trying to decide if adaptive or responsive web design is right for you, consider the pros and cons of each. Think about who your user is. Are they looking at their phone between classes or reading on a large screen during the workday?

Obtaining web design services can help you design your page the right way for your users. If you hire a web designer, they will offer these web services and more. It helps take the guessing game out of it.

Optimize Your Site

Choosing the right design ultimately comes down to the goals for your site. When deciding between responsive vs adaptive web design, take your user into account and get advice from the pros.

Looking to stay up on the latest in tech for your business? Check out our other articles. We’ll give you the advice you need to make your business succeed!

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