Responsive web design and development creates user interfaces that respond to various computing environments, such as desktop screens, tablet platforms and mobile browsers. Adaptive website design and development creates user interfaces that adapt to fit specific screen sizes, software platforms and mobile Internet browsers.
While responsive websites use client-side innovation, meaning the browser determines how the page will look, adaptive relies on server-side technology, meaning the server detects the set of rules of desktops, devices or browsers before sending the website to your visitors.
These are two uniquely different approaches to the challenge of designing websites for multiple screens, platforms and browsers, but they share a common purpose. Both approaches lead to web designs that consider visitors and their browsing preferences.
The chief differentiators for most web designers and developers boils down to the layout. Responsive web design optimizes a fluid grid layout with breakpoints to build a highly flexible site. Adaptive website design may use fixed-width layouts to build multiple sites.
AmericanAirlines.com is an example of adaptive website design.
InflexionInteractive.com is an example of responsive web design.
While adaptive website design and development has been a popular way to ensure the best presentation for device-dependent visitors, fixed-width layouts cannot account for every device and every browser. Contrarily, businesses that are using adaptive website design can be found in publishing, such as CNET.co.uk and The Boston Globe.
Which approach is right for your business? If you’re redesigning your website to be ready for an increase in mobile web browsing visitors, responsive web design and development may be right for you. If you require more mobile features that rely on touch, the accelerometer or geolocation, adaptive website design may be required.
For the majority of businesses that approach us, the solution needs to be flexible. The solution must be responsive to give visitors the most chances to engage your business. Often times, though, we can design websites that are both adaptive and responsive, meaning they include mobile features and respond well to any screen size or device.
How does your website look, engage and convert on each of your devices? Contact us.