The world is becoming increasingly connected as people become more and more digital. With over half of web traffic now coming from mobile devices, it’s important that your website looks great on desktops, smartphones, tablets and even smart TVs.
When you search for a web designer near me and hire a local web designer, they might talk about responsive and adaptive web design. Both of these approaches will ensure that your website looks great on any device.
But what is the difference between responsive web design and adaptive web design and how do you know which is right for your business?
What is adaptive web design?
Adaptive websites consist of several different designs to suit different web browsers. This design is based on anchor points which tell the browser when to jump to the next layout.
In adaptive web design, the website designer will design a different website layout for the most common viewport widths, from the smallest mobile devices up to the largest desktop display widths.
Rather than using percentages, there is just one static layout per anchor point and the website’s design will adjust to the screen size once the anchor point is detected.
Adaptive web design is complex as the designer has to actively design the same web page several times for each size of screen. For a website with several pages, this creates a lot of work for the website designer.
What is responsive web design?
Responsive web design is more fluid than adaptive design, adjusting and responding to any screen size.
This type of web design uses percentage-based CSS rules to change the design of your website based on the size of the device. Whether the browser is 300px wide or 30,000px wide, the page elements will automatically adjust to ensure that your webpage always looks good.
Some web designers believe that responsive web design is more challenging as the website needs to be designed to suit an infinite number of screen sizes. However, it generally results in better adaptability and an improved user experience.
Should you choose adaptive or responsive web design?
There are pros and cons of both adaptive web design and responsive web design and different designers will give you different opinions.
As technology advances, it’s likely that the range of devices available will continue to expand, with new screen and browser sizes continually developing. While 16:9 is the most common aspect ratio today, there’s every chance that it might not be so popular in the future.
Smart watches, such as Fitbit and Apple Watch, are increasing in popularity and gaining new features with every new release. There’s every chance that they will one day develop the capability to facilitate web browsing. How would your website look on a three-inch display screen without a responsive design?
Responsive web design ensures that no matter what the screen or browser size, your website is able to respond accordingly, maintaining its appearance and ensuring that information isn’t lost. If your website has an adaptive design, it will need to be redesigned regularly to ensure that it doesn’t become outdated as technology advances.