How your website displays on a laptop, tablet, smartphone, or PC is dependent on its design. In the past, a web designer could choose to have a fixed design for the site. At times, the website may be better off having a fluid layout. Now, though, most contemporary web designers only have two options to choose from. They either design the site with an adaptive layout or a responsive one. These two are the most dynamic types of designs that match the demands of today’s world.
In the past, websites were only designed to be accessible via laptop or desktop computers. It is because of this that designers from the past would only choose between fixed or fluid designs.
Over time, though, newer versions of smartphones were programmed to have access to the Internet. This allows users to visit websites using their smart gadgets. For visitors, this is a great thing. They can now access the information they want without having to turn on their laptops. For web designers, however, this means that they have to up the ante. They now have to find ways to design a website in a way where visitors can view it on a smaller screen.
Know the Different Types of Web Designs
Webmasters now have to face a tough challenge. How can they create a site that is scaled according to the screen size of the device it is being accessed from?
Let’s start by familiarizing ourselves with the old layouts: fixed and fluid. Fixed design, as the name implies, has a fixed width. This means that it will follow the same measurements regardless of the screen size. On the other hand, fluid design uses percentage for measurement. The fluid design is better than the fixed one since it can still be scalable. The page content will shrink or enlarge depending on the size of the screen. The matter of whether it is usable or not is still questionable, though.
Now, let’s move on to responsive and adaptive custom web design. These are the two designs created to meet the needs of modern web designers—to scale a website’s layout into a usable format without minding the screen size.
Designers who want to adapt a website to specific devices can use adaptive web design. This particular design can detect screen sizes and then load a layout appropriate for that device. As for responsive designs, they can adapt to any device orientation, device, and user behavior. To make this possible, responsive designs take advantage of CSS media queries.
Now, most smart devices are Internet-enabled. Thus, many designers opt for responsive or adaptive website designs. This way, users can still view the website regardless of what smart device they use to access it.
Responsive vs. Adaptive: What’s the Difference?
Responsive and adaptive designs are more advantageous compared to fixed and fluid layouts. With responsive and adaptive designs, there is better user experience.
Both responsive and adaptive designs are created for the same purpose. But, of course, they still have differences. These differences allow designers to choose which one is the most suitable for a project.
The biggest difference between the two designs is the ability to adapt to a user’s screen. In responsive designs, the web pages change to adapt to the user’s screen. Adaptive designs, on the other hand, require creating different web pages for different devices.
Responsive Design: Resizing the Web Pages
When a user opens a site on a browser, information on the device’s screen size is passed to the website. The website will then adjust the site frame according to that detail.
Together with the adjustments, web designers have to mind the formatting, too. The content’s formatting should not degrade the user experience. As a solution, responsive designs use content breaks, otherwise known as breakpoints. These breakpoints allow the site to scale images, adjust layouts, wrap texts, and so on to fit the screen.
Adaptive Design: Design a Site That Fits the Device
If you want to control how the site displays on specific devices, then that’s adaptive design for you. Adaptive designs deliver different experiences for users using PC from those using smartphones.
Let’s set an example here.
Say you have an e-commerce site. You want visitors to see an item gallery under different categories as they access your site on their PC. If they are on a smartphone, though, you want them to see the categories first with the flash deals below. An adaptive site is the most suitable design solution for this.
Designers can work on different screen widths to maximize the use of this design. They will first check their analytics, though. This way, they can decide which screen widths to focus on.
There is already a clear distinction between responsive and adaptive designs. But, there are still cases when you are unsure about which one to use for your custom web design. Good thing there are factors you can consider when choosing between the two.
5 Important Factors in Choosing Between Responsive and Adaptive Web Design
Nowadays, the most popular choice for webmasters is responsive web design. But, there are still many webmasters who favor adaptive web design. The two sides would often argue about which of the two options is better. But, which one is truly the more preferable choice? The answer lies in the purpose of the website you plan to make as well as the needs of the designer.
To Have a Search-Engine-Friendly Site
Websites must be as search engine-friendly as possible. This is especially so when the website is being used for business purposes. You can only monetize the site when you are visible to the search engines and the users.
To be search engine-friendly, you have to get a good Google ranking. In most cases, Google will give a higher ranking to sites that use a responsive design.
Why is this so?
Google will give your site points when it is accessible to most devices. This is what responsive custom web design offers. Responsive sites allow users to receive the same content in the same format. This is regardless if they are using their computer or their smartphone. Responsive designs are more mobile-friendly. As far as we know of mobile-friendly sites, Google ranks them higher than those that are not.
Of course, having a site that looks good on mobile is not the only ranking factor for Google. Google keeps its ranking algorithm a secret from the public, though. But this does not mean there is no way for you to know what to work on to increase your rank. Specialists theorize a few elements to pay attention to. They are as follows:
- page speed
- social signals
- optimized images
- domain age
- site security
- content quality and length
To Target Site Visitors
If you want to track your web visits in a day, adaptive web design is the most appropriate type of design to use. Adaptive websites allow you to track those who visit your site. You will get details on what device they use as well as their location. As long as the web designer has these details, it is easy to create a matching layout. Designers can create a layout accessible to the device that their targeted visitors are on. Furthermore, they can upgrade the site to target certain visitor types. With targeting, the designer can improve user experience in a significant manner.
Why is it necessary to target site visitors?
Targeting the right customer base allows you to filter your leads. If you can filter leads to only those in need of your products/services, this will result in an increase in sales. It is a good thing for you to generate more profits as it can support your business long term.
To Reach as Many Visitors as Possible
You may need your website to reach as many visitors as possible. If this is the case, then you have to do more than making the site suitable for mobile use. You also have to make sure that it will fit any browser or screen size. It is regrettable to lose possible sales all because the site does not load in smaller devices.
There are certain benefits to using responsive sites to reach the most visitors. But, there are disadvantages you have to work with as well. If you opt to use responsive designs, design the website in a way where the page elements can move around different screen sizes. Even when the elements move, they should not disrupt the user experience.
To Upgrade Older Sites
Adaptive and responsive sites have only grown in popularity over the past few years. But websites and the Internet have existed long before their existence. Thus, there are older sites that are neither adaptive nor responsive. If your website is old and you want to upgrade it, using an adaptive design is the most appropriate.
Using adaptive designs is easier since you only have to work around existing pages. This means you don’t have to start from scratch when working on the site. After all, if you do start from scratch, you’ll have to invest more time and money for it.
Why is it necessary to upgrade an old site to a new one, though?
Upgrading has a positive impact on design, usability, marketing, and time. You can upgrade the old design to a new one that matches well with the current era’s aesthetic values. Upgrading also improves the experience of users while they browse your site. They will find your website more usable. In marketing, upgrading helps reflect effective calls-to-action, improve analytics, and even revamp content. With the new layout, you can also improve the website loading speed. This, in turn, lowers the time users wait to access your web pages.
For Easy Design and Implementation
Designing responsive web designs is easier for new webmasters. After all, such websites are built with popular content management platforms as their foundation. Online tutorials are accessible to those using WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla themes. Most of the themes offered in these content platforms are responsive. Also, you can ask for troubleshooting help and support with ease.
The best thing about responsive custom web design is that it does not take a lot of work to design. You don’t even need an extensive programming language to maintain a WordPress responsive theme. The layout is the same regardless of the device. This layout then resizes automatically to fit the screen.
Of course, there is a drawback to this. In exchange for its easy implementation, responsive designs have a slower page load time. If the page loads at a crawling speed, the visitors will feel frustrated and bored. This does not offer them the best user experience.
Wrapping It Up
Adaptive designs load quicker than responsive designs. They send fewer data to the browser when delivering content, after all.
Proweaver designs websites to match your business’ needs and nature. We make use of the options that show your company in the best light possible. If you need help with designing a website for your company, you only need to give us a call and we will be ready to lend you a hand.
Do you have your own thoughts about adaptive and responsive web design? Be sure to share it with us!