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Adaptive or Responsive Web Design

Responsive web design is like the new fad – everybody’s doing it! As the mobile web came through and became widely used, a debate on choosing responsive, adaptive or standalone mobile site has started. Standalone mobile sites are not really a good idea, overall so let’s just skip them for now. The upfront and maintenance cost will have the company run out of business soon if this standalone mobile sites are chosen as a go-to option.

The difference between the two

A responsive web design is quite fluid and is flexible in so many ways. It adapts well to the screen size of the target device as it uses CSS media queries.

Adaptive design, however, makes use of static layouts. They are breakpoints-based and don’t respond when loaded first time. It is usually designed for 6 common screen widths that tend to detect them gradually as they load.

Adaptive may seem like a complicated version but responsive web design is more complex as improper use of media queries can create performance issues.

When Creating Adaptive

Adaptive web design can be used for an existing site as it helps in making it more mobile friendly. Multiple, specific, viewports can be made out of this.

Apart from that, if you are looking forward to creating an adaptive site right from the beginning, media queries can be used in expanding the layout. It allows the web design to be viewed for higher resolution viewports.

To create a site that needs to be used for retrofitting, it seems like a lot of work for designing and developing a site and that too for multiple viewports.

When Creating Responsive

Perhaps the best thing about responsive designs is that even the less experienced designers and developers can create it, easily. It has been made possible due to ready-made themes via CMS systems like WordPress, Drupal and others.

The control is not as good as Adaptive but it requires minimum effort in building as well as maintaining a Responsive web design.

Since its all layouts to be designed as one, this can make the process somewhat complex. Mid-resolution is what you should aim at and then adjust it for high or low res with the help of media queries.

The BIG Decision

When making a decision as to which one to use, Adaptive or Responsive, a tip is to take your audience into account. Getting a customer insight is important for you to know what kind of devices they have got handy and will be using to access the site. Content and everything else also comes to you easily once you have collected the very insight on your target market.

Another factor to be taken into account is whether it’s a completely new thing that you are developing or simply revamping. Responsive works better when you are starting from the scratch which is why everybody is using it.

Responsive is mostly used today due to the heavy maintenance that Adaptive demands. The latter hasn’t died on us, yet, even if the world has fallen in love with the Responsive design. If there are solutions to making Adaptive web design all the more better, it eventually will become the number 1 choice as it lingers for glory.


Mariya Sabeen Irshad
Mariya Sabeen Irshad
Mariya Sabeen Irshad is a Creative Writer and Blogger. She is a staunch believer of ‘logic’ who loves her family, likes to write about anything and everything, and console games are her idea of an engagingly fun activity at any time of the day, with football leading the way. Follow her @MariyaSIrshad

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