What is the Difference between Adaptive and Responsive Web Design?

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For a website developer, for creating a One Web site, s/he have three approaches at hand: using a responsive design, client-side adaptive designs, and server-side adaptive designs. Each approach has its own pros and cons and it is absolutely crucial for a web designer to evaluate each one of them to work on his next project. This article is about the very same.

Responsive Web Design

Responsive web design is one of the most common One Web approaches. It utilizes CSS media queries in order to modify the presentation of a website depending upon the size of the display of the device. These days, a number of responsive sites are making quite an appearance.

The advantage of using this approach is the designer can use a single template for all the devices, and use CSS in order to determine how the content will be displayed on the screen of different sizes. Additionally, they can still work on HTML and CSS. There is a plethora of responsive-friendly, open-source toolkits available such as Foundation or Bootstrap which will assist in simplifying the process of developing responsive sites.

The design and testing phase can be quite laborious for customizing the user experience on every device. When responsive site layouts do not fit together, it may look like a bunch of broken puzzle pieces. Responsive web designs are ideal for mobile-first approach. Then progressive enhancement is put to use to address tablet and desktop use cases.

Client Side Adaptive

In this approach, you do not have to develop the website right from the start. Instead you can develop on an existing content and deliver a mobile-responsive layout at the same time. The key advantage of client-side adaptive is, it gives the designers the ability to reuse one set of HTML and Javascript across devices. It simplifies change management and testing.

Server Side Adaptive

Server-side adaptive delivers a variety of templates for each specific device. It provides more scope to customization, keeps the device-detection logic on the server, and enables smaller mobile pages that load faster than ever. Moreover, there are a plethora of server-side plug-ins available for common CMS software and eCommerce systems in the digital world.

It is an unending debate for the designers to choose the best among the responsive and the adaptive. They do keep competition and mobile-traffic in mind, it drives them on the edge to go for all the approaches and choose the ones that is best for their users.

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