Adaptive web design is the new buzzword in website development. Is it a phase, just a trend that will fizzle out, like so many buzzwords? Not likely. Adaptive web design offers many improvements and advantages over responsive web design. Those of you who are part of the business franchise industry will no doubt be getting recommendations from the marketing gurus at your franchise headquarters in the coming months. Adaptive is here to stay.
Here is a look at the differences between responsive and adaptive web design and how this affects you.
Why Care Anyway?
The reason this is a hot topic is because the majority of people surfing the web are doing it on mobile devices. More people are using smartphones and tablets than desktops or laptops to see what’s online.
If you don’t plan your website around this fact, you will lose customers. You need to put your marketing money where your customers are. And they are mobile.
When you design around the habits of your customers, you will stay competitive. It will give you an edge over those businesses that aren’t paying attention.
With adaptive web design, you don’t need to worry about Google algorithm changes. Your site adapts to the device your visitor uses, which is what the search engines want. So hour site will always be search engine friendly.
What Is the Difference?
Responsive: Responsive web design was the first technique that developers came up with to allow visitors to have a better user experience on their smartphones and tablets when they accessed your site on the web. With the introduction of responsive web design, the layout could finally change and respond to fit any screen size, whether tablet, smartphone, laptop or desktop.
With a responsive site, the page contracts and expands to the sizes of different screens. For example, if your content is in columns, they automatically stack, one on top of the other, for easier viewing. The images shrink to fit the size of the screen. Navigating from one spot to another on the website is handled by a menu button, so scrolling is easier.
Responsive web design was a huge improvement. It means that one webpage, with the same code, could produce a friendly user experience on any size device.
Instead of one page, there are actually several pages developed, one for each screen size. The server that hosts your website is able to use software to interpret signals from the visitor’s smartphone or mobile that tell it which specific page to send.
This can be especially helpful if your website uses complex content like an interactive slideshow. That will show up perfectly on a laptop or desktop, but it comes across as a mess on a mobile. So when your server gets the signal saying your current visitor is using a smartphone, it sends a different version of the page that has a slideshow that is not interactive.
Is that good? Doesn’t it mean you’ve wasted time and money on that complex, riveting slideshow? Quite the contrary because it means the entire page loads faster. Visitors have very little patience for slow-loading pages. They are more likely to simply move on to another website. And remember, your desktop and laptop visitors still see the entire slideshow, with all its bells and whistles.
What You Need to Know
Adaptive sites will cost your more to design because developers need to have more advanced skills and need to spend much more time coding the site. On the other hand, responsive sites are actually quite simple to install. Not so an adaptive site.
If you have a bigger budget, it is a no-brainer to choose adaptive over responsive. For example, if you have a large ecommerce site, you will want the most effective site possible for your mobile customers.
For those with smaller budgets, which is the majority of businesses, plan to go adaptive at some point in the future. Research what is involved, ask for recommendations for developers and set aside money for the big switch. You will still be able to give your viewers a very good user experience with responsive web design.
But at some point in the future you will want to upgrade to take advantage of the features that adaptive delivers to your visitors and your bottom line.