What is Adaptive Web Design?

Adaptive web design allows users to view a website on multiple devices, but what does this involve and how does this differ from other types of web design?

Adaptive web design explained

First coined by web developer Aaron Gustafson back in 2011, adaptive web design is, essentially, a way of allowing a website to be viewed across multiple devices. More of us now use a range of devices to view web pages, with smartphones now trumping desktop computers in terms of use, and web design services have had to change to accommodate the different ways we look and search online.

Adaptive web design has become one of the leading solutions used for browsing on different devices. It involves the creation of different web layouts that are fixed, and which can be adapted to suit various sizes of screen. Therefore, instead of having a single, static page that looks similar across all devices, with adaptive web design you get a number of web page versions that fit a particular device.

This means that a website design company might develop different designs for various screen widths to suit mobile phones, laptops, desktop PCs and tablets.

Benefits of adaptive web design

A web design company may choose an adaptive design because it offers a number of different benefits. Since it is designed for various resolution sizes, it is considered relevant and specific to a user’s needs. It also delivers faster loading speeds, particularly compared to other types of design.

Isn’t it the same as responsive design?

If you’ve heard of adaptive web design, then chances are you’ve probably heard of responsive design, too. These phrases are often used interchangeably, and many people assume they are much the same thing. However, there are subtle variations between the two. While adaptive design consists of different layouts, there’s only one in responsive design, which responsively adjusts to fit the user’s screen. It is the browser window that decides on the layout with responsive design, while the back-end, as opposed to the browser or user, determines the layout in adaptive design. The server selects the correct layout according to factors such as operating system and device type.

Find out more about adaptive design for your website, by contacting our expert website team today.

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