Responsive or adaptive web design: which is better?

Due to the massive adoption of mobile technology around the world, most users visit websites on smartphones and tablets rather than desktops and laptops. This means that web developers now need to make sure that they are reaching out to the mobile user more than ever. These users expect web pages to load quickly and efficiently while offering as much information as they would receive on larger screens.

There are several approaches that developers can use when trying to respond to their mobile visitors, but the most common is responsive web design and responsive web design. Both give mobile users a better user experience, but which one is better for your website? This article will take a look at both approaches, tell you how each works, and ultimately give you the information you need to make up your own mind.

Responsive Web Design (RWD)

The most popular approach is to use responsive website design. HTML5 technology in web browsers automatically detects the size of the browser window used to display a web page and makes changes based on that information. Try adjusting your browser size on some websites and you will see how this technology automatically changes the way content is displayed. It basically offers the best possible fit for the device trying to access the content. With a fluid layout, the technology simply moves, resizes and rearranges the content on a page to fit the screen of the user’s device. Many major websites use this technology, including CNN and Starbucks.

Responsive Web Design (AWD)

Responsive web design is another commonly used approach. Rather than letting web browsers detect and decide on the best layout of content on a screen, responsive web design uses predefined and designed fixed layout sizes. Usually there will be a different website design for six of the most common screen sizes. Most devices use 320, 480, 760, 960, 1200, or 1600 pixels when viewing a web page. The designers will design each page themselves so that when a particular screen size connects, the website knows which version of the page to display. Two popular websites that have adopted this technology are Amazon and About.com.

What’s the best approach for you?

Each approach has pros and cons, but many of you may prefer the more practical responsive web design. There is less work on your end and you don’t have to design many versions of each web page. Responsive web design allows web browser technology to handle all the work.

Additionally, Google has come out in the past and claimed responsive web design to be their preference. To support this claim, the search engine generally ranks websites that use RWD higher than those that use AWD.

The biggest downside to using responsive web design is that the pages can be heavier in terms of file size. By using AWD, you can fine tune each page to suit each device. You can delete some images and other content to ensure faster loading times. Of course, you can still alleviate this problem when using RWD. Just use a mobile-centric approach and build an effective website in the first place. Design your website to feature less images and other media, and your mobile viewers shouldn’t have too many issues.

If you have the time, the adaptive approach certainly has its advantages. You can create web pages that are perfectly optimized for every screen size that the website can display. It also allows you to analyze the types of devices that are visiting and determine that you are getting more viewers at some sizes than you are getting at others. In some cases, you may find that there is no point in continuing to develop new pages for devices of certain sizes – to save you time and money.

The problem is, the biggest advantage of all-wheel drive is also the biggest drawback. You basically need a new page for each of the layouts. This can create a lot of work, especially if you have a large website with dozens of pages. If money isn’t an issue, of course, and you want to personalize the best user experience possible, AWD is definitely worth considering!

Takeaway meals

Which approach you use will depend on your own needs, but you will definitely need to use one if you want to cater to your mobile visitors. If we were to choose an approach, it would have to be responsive website design, and that’s mainly because of its convenience and the all-in-one solution it provides. There is no problem with the layouts, and you just let the browser technology take care of it. In addition, all major browsers support HTML5 technology, so there will never be a problem of bad user experience for some viewers.

Due to the massive adoption of mobile technology around the world, most users visit websites on smartphones and tablets rather than desktops and laptops. This means that web developers now need to make sure that they are reaching out to the mobile user more than ever. These users expect web pages to load quickly and efficiently while offering as much information as they would receive on larger screens.

There are several approaches that developers can use when trying to respond to their mobile visitors, but the most common is responsive web design and responsive web design. Both give mobile users a better user experience, but which one is better for your website? This article will take a look at both approaches, tell you how each works, and ultimately give you the information you need to make up your own mind.

Responsive Web Design (RWD)

The most popular approach is to use responsive website design. HTML5 technology in web browsers automatically detects the size of the browser window used to display a web page and makes changes based on that information. Try adjusting your browser size on some websites and you will see how this technology automatically changes the way content is displayed. It basically offers the best possible fit for the device trying to access the content. With a fluid layout, the technology simply moves, resizes and rearranges the content on a page to fit the screen of the user’s device. Many major websites use this technology, including CNN and Starbucks.

Responsive Web Design (AWD)

Responsive web design is another commonly used approach. Rather than letting web browsers detect and decide on the best layout of content on a screen, responsive web design uses predefined and designed fixed layout sizes. Usually there will be a different website design for six of the most common screen sizes. Most devices use 320, 480, 760, 960, 1200, or 1600 pixels when viewing a web page. The designers will design each page themselves so that when a particular screen size connects, the website knows which version of the page to display. Two popular websites that have adopted this technology are Amazon and About.com.

What’s the best approach for you?

Each approach has pros and cons, but many of you may prefer the more practical responsive web design. There is less work on your end and you don’t have to design many versions of each web page. Responsive web design allows web browser technology to handle all the work.

Additionally, Google has come out in the past and claimed responsive web design to be their preference. To support this claim, the search engine generally ranks websites that use RWD higher than those that use AWD.

The biggest downside to using responsive web design is that the pages can be heavier in terms of file size. By using AWD, you can fine tune each page to suit each device. You can delete some images and other content to ensure faster loading times. Of course, you can still alleviate this problem when using RWD. Just use a mobile-centric approach and build an effective website in the first place. Design your website to feature less images and other media, and your mobile viewers shouldn’t have too many issues.

If you have the time, the adaptive approach certainly has its advantages. You can create web pages that are perfectly optimized for every screen size that the website can display. It also allows you to analyze the types of devices that are visiting and determine that you are getting more viewers at some sizes than you are getting at others. In some cases, you may find that there is no point in continuing to develop new pages for devices of certain sizes – to save you time and money.

The problem is, the biggest advantage of all-wheel drive is also the biggest drawback. You basically need a new page for each of the layouts. This can create a lot of work, especially if you have a large website with dozens of pages. If money isn’t an issue, of course, and you want to personalize the best user experience possible, AWD is definitely worth considering!

Takeaway meals

Which approach you use will depend on your own needs, but you will definitely need to use one if you want to cater to your mobile visitors. If we were to choose an approach, it would have to be responsive website design, and that’s mainly because of its convenience and the all-in-one solution it provides. There is no problem with the layouts, and you just let the browser technology take care of it. In addition, all major browsers support HTML5 technology, so there will never be a problem of bad user experience for some viewers.

About Nereida Nystrom

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