It’s common knowledge that more and more visitors are using mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones to visit websites. The percentage of all global web pages served to mobile phones has risen from 0.7% in 2009 to 52.2% in 2018, and continues to rise.
If you have a website that isn’t easy to view on mobile, you’re missing out on valuable site traffic and new business. More importantly websites that have a responsive design get the best search results, as search engines will give preference to these sites.
So do we use responsive or adaptive web design? If you are viewing a website on a phone, and it’s easy to view, it’s probably built in one of these designs; if it’s difficult to view, it’s probably still in the old method of building websites, known as fixed-width design. Both adaptive and responsive design can prepare your website for mobile use, but in very different ways.
Responsive Web Design
Responsive Web Design is an approach aimed at crafting sites to provide an optimal viewing experience – easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling—across a wide range of devices (from mobile phones to desktop computer monitors). This is done by using fluid grids, which is a term for a design that works no matter what the screen size is. So no matter how much you resize the screen, that same layout will automatically respond to that size.
Adaptive Web Design
Adaptive web design is different from responsive design in that there isn’t one layout that always changes. Instead, there are several distinct layouts for multiple screen sizes, and the layout used depends on the screen size used. For example, there could be a specific layout for mobile phones, tablets, and desktop computers – each of which are made in advance. These three designs wait on standby until someone visits the site; the site detects the type of device used, and delivers the pre-set layout for that device.
Should I Use Adaptive or Responsive Design?
Responsive web design is almost always the safer option to go with for your site. It always functions well regardless of what new screen sizes come and go, improves loading times, and is usually well worth the extra effort in putting it together. Adaptive can be a better option. These would likely be newer, smaller websites that are just starting out and need to preserve their resources. An Adaptive site is easier to build, and the smaller size and audience would keep the slower load times or lower flexibility from being an issue. Responsive is a better investment for making sure you don’t miss out on all the potential mobile customers searching for you online.