According to a Google-sponsored survey, a whopping 81% of smartphone owners use their phone to browse the web, while 79% of people use a phone to help with shopping. The increasing popularity of smartphones and tablets has made it necessary for web designers to consider the functionality of mobile browsers when they are creating a new website. It was easy in the past to design a website to do exactly what you wanted it to do when it was viewed from a computer, but smartphones and other web enabled devices have changed everything. Most web designers are now incorporating either responsive or adaptive design techniques into each website to ensure that everyone will be able to access and use each of their websites.
What is Responsive Design?
Responsive website design takes the approach of creating a website that is able to respond to each user’s needs depending on the device that they are using. In other words, a website that has been created with responsive design will automatically scale itself differently to be viewed properly on multiple different devices. The designer will have to incorporate flexible layouts and grids to enable the site to respond to each device.
What is Adaptive Design?
Many web designers felt daunted by the idea of creating an entirely new system to provide heightened functionality for mobile devices. Therefore, they decided to begin using an adaptive design that could be built on top of any site that was already in place. The basic concept behind the adaptive design was that it would allow designers to quickly take any website and make it ready for usage on most mobile devices. The addition of the adaptive technology would enable the website to determine the capability of each mobile browser and render itself appropriately. In other words, if a browser would be unable to show a flash animation, the website would not attempt to load it. Instead, the viewer would see the entire page minus the animation. Although this approach is not perfect because it keeps some people from seeing everything that is on the page, it is definitely a relatively simple solution to the smartphone problem.
Which Design is Better?
There is no easy way to accurately determine if responsive or adaptive web design is the superior choice because they both have their pros and cons. For many businesses, however, the adaptive option is easier because it does not require as much effort to put into place. On the other hand, if a company has a data intensive website that they need all of their potential customers to be able to fully access, then the responsive approach is probably the best choice. It is important to note, however, that not every web enabled device will be able to fully render a website regardless of which technique was utilized.
Will One of these Designs become Standard?
It makes the most sense for the responsive design to be utilized when someone is building a brand new website. Therefore, there will probably be a shift toward the responsive design. Many companies are also opting to create separate versions of their websites that are specifically geared at mobile devices, but not everyone can afford this approach. Another thing to consider is that websites that are made specifically for a mobile device are not able to contain nearly as much data as a traditional website, and this can make it difficult for viewers to find the information that they need. If the responsive or adaptive web design options will allow viewers to see more of your website than a mobile only version, then it makes more sense to utilize just one website that has been properly designed for usage on all devices.
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