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Responsive Design v.s. Adaptive Design

Responsive web design and adaptive web design are two sides of a similar coin. Both change the format of a specific web page in order to conform to a different tablet or mobile device. However, the way both go about it varies, and are important differences to consider when choosing the route you want to go. There are three points to understand when differentiating between responsive and adaptive design.

1. Responsive design is broader in its method of information delivery, where adaptive design is more specific to fitting the needs of the device it is delivering information to. Responsive design is a technique used where the same HTML code from the desktop version is delivered to a mobile or tablet device, but adjusts to the specific layout, or CSS of whatever the delivered device’s screen form is.  Adaptive design is similar except that it can pre-detect which device it is delivering code to, and therefore delivers different CSS and HTML code, in order to conform more to the specific device it is delivering to.

2. Because responsive design is broader in the way it delivers code, it can sometimes filter out certain information. In other words, some portions of the site won’t show up on your mobile device.  You can see this when you look at a responsive site on your mobile device. Many times, the written blogs by users will not show up, or certain articles (depending on the type of site you are looking at) won’t be there. However, the important information, the main articles, and the ecommerce portion, will. The advantage is that it’s easier for developers to deliver information responsively, because they don’t have to change code depending on the type of device it’s delivered to.

3. Because adaptive design is more specific in the way it delivers code, it can be a more tailored experience that differs depending on the device you are using. It can also vary depending on the actions the customer may take, depending on the type of website they are looking at. For example, if a user is probably going to use the site to order tickets on a mobile phone, the developers will tweak the design to be adaptive to that. Therefore, some argue that adaptive web designs create a friendlier user experience for the customer, depending on the type of site being accessed.

Responsive and adaptive design may be slightly dissimilar, but both are necessary functions for a website that wants to retain users. Because so many people use smartphones and tablets, a responsive or adaptive design can help the user navigate the site more effectively and get what they need from the site in a simpler manner. Our Los Angeles based web design team can help your site be either adaptive or responsive, depending on whatever the needs of your business are.


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