Since the evolution of the mobile web, one of the major debates is whether to go with a responsive web design or Adaptive website design. Especially after launching a major update to focus on mobile-friendly sites for ranking, Google always loves responsive website design. Many students prefer responsive design for UX coaching.
Responsive vs. Adaptive Design
So, first of all, here are the differences between Responsive and Adaptive Design
Simply speaking, responsive web design adapts well to the size of the screen despite the target device and it is fluid. CSS media queries are used by responsive sites to change styles on the basis of the target device, including width, display type, and height. Only one of these is important for the site to adapt well to various screens.
On the other side, the adaptive design uses static layouts on the base of breakpoints which are unable to work once they are loaded. Adaptive web design detects the size of the screen and loads the right layout accordingly. You would usually design an adaptive site for 320, 480, 760, 1200, 960, and 1600 pixels of the screen.
It seems that adaptive web design needs more work as you need to design layouts for at least six widths. Responsive seems to be more complex as the inferior use of queries can make for performance and display issues. Especially, the latter has made a lot of discussion over the years as it is the case that sites provide a full desktop model, even though it is not going to load on a mobile device and it slows down the site. So, you may want to use media queries. But there are certain tradeoffs as the responsive site will never be as quick as a mobile site.
Benefits of Adaptive Website Design
Adaptive is helpful to retrofit the current site to make it more adaptive to mobile. You can have proper control of development and design for several points of views. The numbers of perspectives you prefer to design for depends on you, your budget and company. It gives a certain level of control over layout and content that you won’t have with responsive design.
In general, you would work your way to keep in mind that design is not limited by content and for the low-resolution view.
It is limited to six resolutions. But you can look at web analytics for the devices that are widely used to design for such views to make a more informed decision. It is fine if you want to start from scratch with an adaptive design. You can start again by working your way up for lowest resolution. You can expand the layout using media queries for high-quality views.
Benefits of Responsive Design
Most of the sites are responsive these days. They don’t need any experience to design and develop a responsive website, thanks to the availability of themes that can be accessed with CMS platforms like Joomla, WordPress, and Drupal. Though you don’t have more control with Responsive design, it takes a lot less work to build and maintain a website. Responsive layouts give more fluid feel by using percentage while scaling.