Why Using Responsive and Adaptive Design Together May Be the Best Choice

May 4, 2016In Web Design4 Minutes

Trying to figure out what type of design to use can be a daunting task for many website owners. One big decision that needs to be made is to choose between responsive and adaptive web design. While responsive design works great in delivering a great experience for mobile users, it’s not perfect. Some website owners will want to create a truly optimized experience for a segment of their users that they deem valuable.

This is where adaptive web design comes in. Unlike rearranging a website to fit mobile standards, adaptive design serves a custom site specifically designed for a group of defined users. If you want to deliver a media-rich experience to tablet users, using adaptive design will make a lot of sense because a media-rich website would not be optimal for a responsive site due to the long load times.

But trying to keep up with an adaptive site can be a nightmare. Constantly keeping up with updates, content, and changes on multiple variations of a website can be taxing to both your time and money. That’s why the best solution can be achieved by using responsive and adaptive together. Using these two together covers all of their weaknesses.

A responsive site will deliver a great experience for smartphone users and work seamlessly with the elements of your desktop site. If you feel that certain users are worth the investment into adaptive, you can create a unique version of your website for these users. You won’t have to commit to managing multiple versions of your sites with a fully adaptive site and won’t be locked to providing a generalized experience for all your mobile device users.

As mentioned earlier, it makes sense for many website owners to create an adaptive version of a website for tablet users. Tablet screens, while smaller than desktop screens, have a good amount of screen real estate to work with. This makes it worthy to develop for as users will be able to see most of the elements on the website. On the other hand, mobile phone users will often focus on in a small portion of a site and ignore the rest due to the screen small size of these devices. Tablets also have enough computing power to make the browsing experience seamless.

Another important point is that many users use a tablet device at home with many preferring it over their desktops due to its portability. And because the device is being used at home, it means that it is probably connected to high-speed Internet. So if the ideal situation is to deliver a media-rich user experience to tablet users, then developing an adaptive version of a website makes perfect sense.

Ultimately, the important thing is that you have to make sure that you can justify the cost of using both. You should start by testing the results from creating an adaptive version of your website for your specified audience. Do the results clearly show an improvement in ROI, engagement, and user behavior? Depending on how impactful this user base is to your bottom line, even a marginal improvement can mean that investing in adaptive will be worth it.

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