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Which Way To Go? Responsive Or Adaptive?

Website accessibility in today’s time has been one of the hottest topics of discussion among web developers around the world. And along with this, website owners have never been this concerned about the accessibility of their website via different devices, other than a laptop and desktop screens. This growing concerned paved the way to a brand new form of web design- responsive web design. With tablets and mobile devices that are gaining grounds at a rapid pace, it has become mandatory for entrepreneurs to make sure that their website is responsive- compatible with every kind of internet-enabled devices.

Although, both responsive and adaptive web design can render mobile-friendly websites, you may still can’t help but wonder as to what separates these two. It would be wise to begin the scrutiny my defining these two entities.

What is Adaptive Web Design?

This kind of website design uses the server in order to detect the device used for viewing the site. In simple words, the server is used to determine whether it is viewed via a Smartphone, tablet, or desktop. Additionally, a separate template is maintained for every device. This means that the template displayed when viewing it on a laptop screen is different from the one when it’s viewed on a Smartphone screen. Moreover, since websites are designed with the use of an adaptive web design, they are housed on their own domain, thus, the pages can load at a faster rate.

How About Responsive Web Design?

This one utilizes a specific CSS code in order to modify the presentation of the website as per the device it is viewed on. Information about each device is downloaded, irrespective of whether it is used or otherwise. Unlike with websites with adaptive web design, the ones designed under RWD may load slower.

The Face Off: AWD Versus RWD

What separates AWD from RWD is that the former is thoroughly changing to fit the device and screen, whereas, the latter fluidly changes and responds in order to fit a set of devices, as well as screen sizes. Below are the other noticeable differences between these two.

1. AWD expects you to develop and maintain separate websites, either by a separate URL or HTML/CSS code. On the other hand, RWD relies on its existing HTML/CSS3 and Javascript.

2. In adaptive web design, for you to make a single change you’d have to redo SEO, content, and linking for the whole website. In responsive, however, making a change is simple because links, SEO, and content settings are carried over via HTML/CSS3 and Javascript.

3. AWD relies on pre-defined screen sizes; responsive on flexible and fluid grids. This means that RWD needs more coding and strategies to fit, while AWD has a streamlined approach, utilizing scripting to adapt to varied screen sizes.

4. AWD is implemented on a pre-existing site, while for RWD, you have to rebuild the website from scratch.

5. To design using adaptive web design, you’ll need an advance knowledge of CSS and Javascript. For responsive web design, you just have to make some changes to its existing codes.

6. Websites using AWD have images optimized for a specific device screen resolution, while RWD has images that are down and re-sized to fit respective devices.

Whether you choose AWD or RWD, what matters most is for you to have a strategy behind the design of your website for mobile devices constraints. Make sure that your content is optimized for your audience, no matter what device is used to access your website. Simply put, you need to have a website design company that stands out from the rest.

Image Credit: Flickr, rebeccaannford

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