Adaptive vs. Responsive Web Design
By Naveen Rustagi Posted on : June 29, 2019
One of the most prominent characteristics of the Indian internet user is that it is predominantly accessed via smartphones or tabs. Hence, while designing a website one very significant point to consider is the existence and immense popularity of mobile phones that come in various sizes.
The online presence of a business has become vital for its growth and sustenance in the market. Moreover, with the scope of eCommerce increasing each passing day it becomes very important that the website for your business meets these specific requirements.
While designing a website a web developer has to consider the various screen sizes that would be used to access the site. From wide screens in smart tv to the minuscule screens of smart watches a website has to be accessible and clearly visible to all its visitors. You could opt for either an adaptive or responsive web design to meet the flexibility of the website to multiple screen sizes. But how do you decide which is the better option for you?
Let us compare the two web design types to ascertain which is better.
- Adaptive web design involves the development of distinct layouts of the web for different screen sizes. So, you will need to make multiple layouts of the same page to match with the varying screen sizes.
- Responsive web design, on the other hand, has a fluid layout that is capable of adapting to the screen size. So, the same layout can be used for different screen sizes. It is enabled by the use of CSS media which allows the fluid grid to resize the dimensions of the webpage according to the screen size without the loss of any data.
Now that we know the main characteristic variation between the two designs lets us look individually at their advantages and disadvantages to understand which a better option for your website would be.
Adaptive web design and its advantages and disadvantages
Adaptive web design was introduced by Aaron Gustafson. It considers the varied screen sizes and operating systems that would be used and develops two or more completely different designs to cater to the needs.
- The main aim of the Adaptive design is to ensure that each user gets the best experience in the website when visiting it irrespective of the device being used. The web layout is optimized for each screen size.
- Due to the design optimization of the website, users will find that the web page loads much faster. So, you do not have to wait for the website to fit in all the images and navigation option that you see on a larger screen. They are usually simplified versions with fewer navigation options on a single page giving better viewing and browsing experience,
- Adding advertisements to earn profits from your website is one of the main aims of most website hosts. With Adaptive website design, you would have the ads showing up as per the screen size and is much more feasible than the responsive design.c
- One of the major disadvantages of adaptive web design is that there are different URLs for the different versions of the same website. Due to this, search results may not always list out your website link as search engines do not prefer multiple URLs with the identical articles which might greatly impact the flow of traffic to your website.
- Cross linking is a common way of getting traffic to your website. But when you have multiple links for your website which do you use to get the best results? There is always the fear of having used the wrong link and not giving the right user experience.
- Despite the existence of optimized versions of the website many users end up landing on the wrong version. The screen variation between a tablet and a mobile may not be much but the end view of the website may vary and not give a great experience if a mobile user landed on a website optimized for a tablet and vice versa.
- Due to the fact that multiple layouts need to be developed for the same website the time required to launch the website is longer. Moreover once the website is up and running, the maintenance again becomes an arduous task due to the existence of multiple versions of the same website. So, it not only takes longer to develop but also more effort to maintain as well.
Responsive web design and its advantages and disadvantages
Responsive web design was first introduced by Ethan Marcotte. This web design allows the website to show the content in an optimized way in the available browser space. This means you see the same page with the same option irrespective of the device that you use for viewing.
- Due to the existence of the same webpage for all users, you ensure that everyone has the same experience. It helps in developing the ease of navigation in revisits with a different device as the user would already know how to use the website from previous visits.
- There is only one URL for the website hence crosslinking becomes easy. It is easier to share the link in social media and of course, it becomes much easier to track the traffic to the website and check the stats of sales and conversions
- Due to the fact that there is only one URL with the specific content of your website search engines yield better results.
- It takes much lesser time to develop and maintain the website as it is made on a single layout, unlike the adaptive web design.
- One of the major concerns of the websites with a responsive design is thehigh loading time. Whether you are viewing the website on a tab or a mobile device the webpage that would load is the same as that you would see on a desktop. It is not optimized for smaller screens it just scales down but ideally would have all the contents that you see on a desktop version. This definitely minimizes user experience.
- Fitting in advertisements becomes difficult as all the ads would not scale down as effectively as the web page would when using it on a smaller screen size with different screen resolutions.
- Because only a single weblayout is made for the website many features cannot be added as the website has to be optimized for viewing and navigation on smaller screen sizes as well. Hence the website may not be as functional as you can make it for a website that was solely made for desktop users.
The decision on the type of web design that you want to usehas to be made as per the functionalities that you are seeking for your website. Your decision has to be based on the monetary profits and the user experience that you intend to achieve. Both the versions have their own advantages and disadvantages, it is only you who would understand which advantages would work for you and which disadvantages would impact your website and its objectives the most. Discuss with your web designer what you want to achieve with