Responsive vs. Adaptive Web Design

Responsive vs. Adaptive Web Design

In this fast world of internet, there is a significant tectonic shift in today’s user behavior. In fact, we have gone beyond the t-dot and m-dot hacks era and entered into the one where adaptive and responsive design techniques rule our day. It is also referred to as the latest web design approach.

As per the W3C’s recommendation ‘One web refers to the making of same services and information abatable to users regardless of the device used by users. From a developer point of view; One Web approach makes sure that site not only works on desktops but also on Smartphone and tablets.

Currently, a One Web site can be developed in three famous approaches i.e. using a client-side adaptive design, responsive design, and server-side adaptive designs.

Let’s discuss each of them in detail.

Server-Side Adaptive

This can be achieved in a number of ways, through custom user agent detection and server-side plug-in. Some of the sites using this approach include One Kings Lane and Etsy.

The best part of the server-side adaptive approach is that it offers different templates for every device enable better customization and maintain device-detection logic on the main server while enabling mobile pages which load faster.

Client-Side Adaptive

Adaptive design is actually built on the ideology of responsive design. It helps in delivering user experiences which are targeted at particular devices and contexts. It enriches sites with advanced functionality as well as customization by using JavaScript.

There are two basic approaches to adaptive design. First; where the adaptations are on the client side, in the browser of the user, and the other one where the main web server does all the heavy lifting of loading the correct template and detecting various devices.

Popular examples of the client-side adaptive websites include Ideeli and Threadless. The biggest strength associated with the adaptive template approach is its great ability to simply reuse one set of JavaScript and HTML across devices while simplifying testing and change management.

Responsive Web Design

Responsive Web Design is another common One Web approach. This approach utilizes CSS media queries in order to modify the website presentation based on the device display size. Now there are many responsive sites and the number is constantly increasing, from Disney to Boston Globe to Indochino.

The biggest strength of this approach is that developers and web designers can easily use one template to be on all devices. They can just use CSS to ascertain how site content is being rendered on various screen sizes. Responsive design has fast become the de facto standard and is the most preferred approach for web design.

Conclusively, many organizations wrestle with the principles of responsive approach and still not ready to try or confront the better and more sophisticated aspects of the adaptive approach. But as we can see the increasing mobile traffic and tough competition, this will drive more organizations to simply kick the tires on each of these approaches while picking the one that works great for their users.

If you need more professional insight on web design, contact OHS Publishing right away.

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