Comparison Between Responsive vs. Adaptive Designs

In this current era, mobile devices is becoming a priority for Dubai web designers. It is very important to design your website to become mobile friendly to achieve better online rankings. As what every marketers are being referred to, non-optimized websites for mobile devices will decrease the chances of acquiring more visitors because people nowadays choose to browse through their mobile devices.


Before we dig deeper about the concept of mobile optimized websites that web designer Dubai already know, let us first understand the difference of responsive and adaptive designs.


Responsive designs are those that can adjust to the screen size no matter what the device you are currently using.


This type of design uses different kinds of layout to adapt with the different sizes of screen being utilized.

Let’s compare responsive from adaptive

Responsive design requires more attention with your website’s CSS. This is to make that it will automatically function in any screen size, according to mobile development companies in Dubai. If you think of it, it is already very daunting to make a single layout, how much more if its for many screen sizes.

Adaptive designs for mobile development Dubai, on the other hand, are not very flexible and will only work on screens based on its enabled layout. For instance, a new device is released, you will then have to make another layout to support the new screen resolution.

Responsive sites are capable of working on their own. Adaptive sites will require regular maintenance.

What design is safe to use?

If you are having a hard time picking for the right design for your site, then you should venture responsive since it requires less maintenance, also because of its flexibility. It is also capable of improving loading times which is ideally good for better user experience. Adaptive website design Dubai has its own advantages but if you are busy enough to mind constant adjustments, then responsive is definitely for you.

Is adaptive better than responsive design?

If you have been remotely listening to the Web design conversation in the past five years, one phrase keeps coming up – responsive Web design. By now, you are probably designing every one of your site outlines with a responsive framework.

But some of the talk is shifting to adaptive Web design. The conversation has been out there for a little while, but Google and Apple have really helped bring it back to the forefront. Is adaptive a concept we really need to think about when designing for the modern user?

What is Adaptive UI?

The discussion starts with a primer on adaptive Web design, or AWD. Like responsive design, adaptive is rooted in trying to create a better user experience across a number of different devices.


How is Adaptive Different than Responsive?

While the ideas behind adaptive and responsive design are similar, they are not the same thing. Much of what’s different is in the HTML and CSS, and how that information is served to users.

“Responsive design is client-side, meaning the whole page is delivered to the device browser (the client), and the browser then changes how the page appears in relation to the dimensions of the browser window.

“Adaptive design is server-side, meaning before the page is even delivered, the server (where the site is hosted) detects the attributes of the device, and loads a version of the site that is optimized for its dimensions and native features.”

So the difference is who does the heavy-lifting. For adaptive, it’s the server working hard to deliver an optimized page. For responsive, it’s the device who’s beholden to media queries.

Weighing the Benefits of AWD

Users of adaptive design cite a handful of distinct benefits for using this type of design outline. (And their arguments make a lot of sense.)

  1. Better performance: Because of the way the website is served, it renders faster and more efficiently for users.
  2. Increased flexibility: You can make changes where they are needed in the code without impacting the entire site. So if a button does not work for iOS users, you can make that adjustment without potentially breaking something that does work for an Android user.
  3. It makes you think about content strategy: Because your website is actually designed specifically for different devices, you can design functionality in great detail. How do you want something to work? How do you want users to engage with your website? You can make it happen in a way that is unique to the user and device with an almost personalized experience.

Design Thinking With Adaptive

Changing your website design strategy from one where you build responsive websites to adaptive websites requires changes in the way you think about the design process. You really are building multiple versions of a site.

While the design method is fairly unique to the designer, Google’s Material Designdocumentation has a good breakdown of how to think about the adaptive process and create a website in that manner.


“This adaptive UI guidance includes a flexible grid that ensures consistency across layouts, breakpoint details about how content reflows on different screens, and a description of how an app can scale from small to extra-large screens.”

  • Breakpoints: Layouts should work at the following widths 480, 600, 840, 960, 1,280, 1,440 and 1,600 pixels. Knowing these widths allows you to quickly prototype for various devices, using tools such as UXPin.
  • Grid: A 12-column framework is preferred with consistent margin and gutter widths that align to a baseline grid. Grids can be full-width or centered.
  • Surface behaviors: The UI should adapt based on screen size in specific ways – visibility, width and descriptions – and Google offers details for each of these adaptations.
  • Patterns: User action behaviors and patterns – reveal, transform, divide, reflow and expand – are based on screen size. To see today’s most popular and effective mobile patterns, check out the free e-book Mobile UI Design Patterns.

When it comes down to the actual design, you’ll need a few new sets of rules.

This includes a set of templates for different devices. (At a minimum this includes three templates – desktop, tablet and mobile.) You’ll also need a set of guidelines for how you plan to use breakpoints and grids and what adaptations will occur at what points. Finally, comes the discussion about how much difference between device designs is acceptable. Ask yourself: are you OK with a website having multiple aesthetic outlines?

Should You Use Adaptive Design?

So it all comes back down to the big question: Should you use adaptive design?

If you are looking for a universal solution, you are not going to be happy with this answer. The type of design interface you choose really depends on the needs of the project and the users that you serve.

There are some instances where a more clear solution can arise. Consider using adaptive design if:

  • Device-specific experiences are a necessity.
  • You can actually create different experiences for each of these devices.
  • You can handle and maintain adaptive templates and resources.
  • Your user base is accessing your information on a lot of different devices (if analytics show 70 percent of users are on a single device, an adaptive UI might not be worth your time).

It really comes down to one thing in the end. Are you using adaptive UI to create a better experience for users or because you want to try something different? Always create common and desired experiences that users want to be a part of.

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