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Responsive Vs Adaptive Web Design – Which One Is Best for Your Website?

Responsive Design

A responsive web design lets a page adjust to the screen resolution of the user’s device. Images will either become larger or smaller to fit into the space while text and the rest of the elements will adjust as well to fit as the space grows or shrinks.


Fast development time: Since one site can adjust to several devices, this reduces development time.

Low maintenance: Responsive sites are naturally less complicated than adaptive ones. If something needs to be changed in the site, this only requires one change. When it comes to adaptive sites, changes need to be made in more than one spot to ensure that the changes are carried over to mobile devices.

At present, a responsive web design is recommended by Google.

Future proof: Though nothing is future proof, since responsive sites are flexible by nature, they will be able to adjust to more screen resolutions. Majority of adaptive sites are made to fit a desktop and mobile device but many do not include tablets, serving only a desktop version or a mobile version. A responsive web design will allow the site to register well in a tablet like an iPad.


Since Responsive redesigns require additional work, they are more expensive than Adaptive ones. When they are completed though, Responsive sites requires less maintenance as compared to Adaptive sites, presenting overall savings in the long run in terms of web development fees.

When choosing to make a site Responsive, this requires to redesign the whole site and not just adding a mobile template. This can be an advantage, Since the website will look good on both desktop and mobile devices, delivering a consistent user experience.

Adaptive Design

An Adaptive site is comparable to having two different web sites, with one that is designed to fit a desktop and another to fit a mobile device. With the use of JavaScript plus other elements, users are served with different versions of a site, depending on the type of device used.


With an Adaptive design, a mobile site is built separately from a desktop site and so, logos, images as well as resource intensive processes and bandwidth can be either excluded on the mobile version of the sites or could be better optimized for mobile use, giving a faster site. It is important to consider the assets that meet the needs of users.

The current desktop site does not need to be redesigned. If contented with the current site, it can be left as it is and just have a second mobile version developed.

A link to the site’s desktop version can be provided to enable users to choose the version of the site they want to see.

Such design can be made to fit mobile devices. A responsive web design lets one design work with all types of devices while with an adaptive design, a design can be made particularly for mobile phones.


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