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Responsive vs. Adaptive Web Design

One of the big technological advancements for many companies over the past year was ensuring their websites were updated to be viewed from different types of internet devices. Five years ago, most company websites were only ever viewed from desktop and laptop computers, so sites were created for computer screen resolutions and settings. With the advent of the iPhone, the iPod touch, the Android phone, the iPad, the Kindle, and various other tablets and readers, there are now a host of devices on which internet users can visit websites. And if those websites are still optimized for computer screens, the page will be hard to navigate from any of these mobile devices.

That is why many websites began using responsive and adaptive web design. This allows a website to change its format to suit whatever device is viewing it, offering the best user experience. However, there are some key differences between the two web design methods.

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Responsive Web Design

Responsive web design uses a basic fluid grid that works with percentages to create a flexible foundation for the page. By using flexible images, videos, and fluid type in concert with the key points of the flexible foundation, a website is able to alter its appearance and fluidly adapt to fit the screen size and resolution of any device. Responsive web design will allow web pages to adapt even to devices not yet created. Unfortunately, this will mean more programming, code, and implementation strategies in the preliminary design stages of the site.

Adaptive Web Design

Adaptive web design gives essentially the same results as responsive, but instead of working with fluid type and a flexible grid, it relies on predefined screen sizes. The site will recognize what size screen is being used to view it and will then adapt to fit that screen setting programmed in during the design phase. This is a more streamlined and simple approach to web design and allows the site to use scripting when adapting to different sizes. However, if the site is viewed on a device whose screen size is not recognized, it will not be able to fit the screen perfectly.

Both types of web design are useful for companies adapting to the world of mobile searching and internet browsing. And while some people view them as competing methods, they work much better in concert with each other, allowing a website to best respond to new technology. Further research will reveal more specific information about the workings of each method and more detailed benefits and drawbacks of each.

SteerPoint Marketing

As 2014 comes to a close, how will your company make the most of the push toward adaptive and responsive design? With mobile use growing daily, there is never a better time to ensure you can meet customers where they are. For more on modern web development and the keys to staging an effective business, contact SteerPoint Marketing. We are ready to answer your questions and equipped to transition any business website into the modern age.