Responsive Web Design vs. Adaptive Web Design: What’s the Difference?

Responsive Web Design - Rochester NYWith ever increasingly pressure to create web sites that work without a glitch on a huge variety of mobile devises and tablets, two design strategies have emerged: responsive and adaptive web design.  Both options share the same goal, which is to ensure that users have a positive experience using sites on whatever devise they choose.  While a successful end result is the essential design goal, it is worth having some understanding of how these techniques differ.

Responsive Web Design (RWD):  The defining characteristic of a responsive web design is that it is built to fluidly change and respond to fit any screen size.  RWD delivers its responsive structures by relying on flexible and fluid grids that use percentages to create a flexible design foundation.

Adaptive Web Design (AWD):  Web sites designed using AWD are coded to change to fit a defined set of screen and device sizes.  Using a predetermined set of designed layout sizes based on different screen sizes, this approach allows sites to adapt to detected devices.

Both options create website compatibility with various mobile options.  The difference is in the coding strategy for delivery of the adaptation features.  Different techniques are better suited for different websites, based on a number of factors including site functionality.  It is important that the best suited option be used at the start of your web design process to build efficiency and scalability into your site.

For more information on web design options and strategies, please contact us at (585) 230-9565