When it comes to the topic of web design, one of the hottest topics that is being discussed is whether the design is responsive or adaptive. What the actual debate comes down to strictly revolves around its accessibility of information and visual appearance on the different electronic devices that are currently available on the market. These devices include your standard desktops, laptops, cellular/mobile devises and of course tablets. This type of web design & development is nothing new to the field, but changes have been made due to the technological advances of mobile computing.
Responsive Web Design
The simplest way to break down the term responsive web design is to think about web browser sizes. It strictly focuses on achieving the optimal reading experience and overall layout on every device. Have you ever noticed how some sites may look so clear on you smaller cellular device but then look different on your tablet? Well, responsive web design focuses on ensuring that the sites properly adjust so you have the best experience on site visits, every time you use any device. Here are a couple examples of this occurring, once you fully understand, you will notice it more often amongst the sites that you visit often.
Disney – it should be no surprise that Disney’s site is top notch. Considered one of the best in worldwide animation, try the site out for yourself by adjusting the size of your web browser. You will notice the ease in which the characters change sizes without any delays or hesitation.
The Boston Globe – another wonderful example of great website management and responsive design can be seen here. All the information and content that is currently being placed on this site and adjustments are made seamlessly.
Adaptive Web Design
The best comparison that can be made to grasp onto the concept of adaptive design is to think about a structure with a solid foundation. Over time, it ages and needs an upgrade/remodel. Adaptive web design is the remodel! People may notice that when they go to access certain sites their devices will ask whether or not they recognize HTML5 or CSS3 – this way the device will know what ‘remodeled’ version can be used to optimize the user experience.
There are clearly benefits to each type of web design as well as downfalls. With adaptive design, it is great to know that overall optimization will continue further with the tablet or mobile experience because of such features as touchscreen and location capabilities. With responsive web design, one cannot automatically assume that those sites will transfer properly from desktop to mobile devices.