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Responsive vs Adaptive Design “Which is the best?”

Web design industry has evolved from time to time as new devices and technologies come into the market. It became necessary to build websites that could scale to fit various screen sizes as the number of devices that could access the internet increased. This is one of the biggest debates between web designers of the current age is adaptive vs responsive web design. In this blog we’ll discuss both by differentiating, comparing, and taking in account their advantages and disadvantages so it is easier for you to choose the right web design for your website.

What is Responsive Web Design?

A responsive design responds according to the device and presents the layout based on the screen size of that device. It Utilizes CSS media queries to provide the same functionality over every device.

What is Adaptive Web Design?

An Adaptive website design corresponds to a single device layout. A design made for 3 4 most common devices out of 6 on which you have the most audience or visitors which may be tablets, smartphones, laptops etc. it offers a different tailored designs with various layouts and a specified set of devices and screen resolutions.

Benefit of a Responsive Design

  • Serves a larger audience
  • Easy to find free themes
  • Mobile-friendly

Disadvantages of a Responsive Design

  • Loads slower than Adaptive design
  • You have to compromise on functionality because one layout is usable on all screens.
  • Less control over how the web page design looks.

Benefits of an Adaptive Design

  • They load 3x faster than Responsive designs.
  • Layouts are optimized for each user.
  • More customization options relating to the use of smart device options and adoption.

Disadvantages of an Adaptive Design

  • Less Search-Engine friendly than responsive design.
  • Takes a lot more work than responsive designs.
  • Captures less audience

Key Difference

Responsive and adaptive are somehow similar and serve the same objective that is making it easy for the user to navigate. In an adaptive design, a predesigned layout with 3 to 4 user-experiences is chosen by the browser itself which fits the screen best whereas in responsive design the single layout adjusts itself according to the screen.

You may be wondering? How do you make your website scalable for all devices? The best layout is difficult to choose, but both designs can satisfy your design requirements. Further well compare both designs, we’ll explain how these two web designs differ from one another and how they might enhance user experience:


Where responsive design beats adaptive designs

  • Easy Deployment

Responsive designs take less work to build and maintain for UX designers. From the navigation bars, text, and images everything adjusts itself on the screen size like a fluid adjusts itself in a container. As for in adaptive designs, you will have to create a different layout for each screen which could turn out as a lot more hours of work

  • Budget Friendly

As we discussed above, because it requires less work and maintenance it could also turn out to be cost efficient in case you are not a professional web designer. Whereas, In Adaptive design you would have to hire and pay a UX expert to customize design for each screen.

  • Single URL:

Your SEO performance won’t be harmed by the loss of any content, CTA buttons, or other on-page components in responsive design due to its single URL. Any screen size can be accommodated by a single url for each page unlike adaptive design, which uses multiple URLs for a single page. Since technology is constantly evolving, this function is ahead of its time.

  • Capture Large Audience

Responsive designs serve a larger audience because they can work on a variety of screens with the same layout whereas adaptive designs are tailored for specific users. Adaptive websites usually take more work as 3 to 4 layouts are designed where responsive designs are complex and provide room for improvement.

  • Mobile-Friendly

Responsive designs are mobile-friendly which gives them an edge in SEO ranking as Search Engines favor mobile friendly Addition, Mobile users are goal-oriented and expect getting what they need as soon as they arrive on a mobile website or app. Having a mobile friendly design is therefore more crucial than ever for businesses. or you run a risk of losing a sizable portion of potential clients.

Where Adaptive design beats responsive designs

  • Provide Quality for target customers

Adaptive designs could be time consuming as compared to responsive designs but provide quality for targeted users. They are specifically designed for that viewer base and screens so its user-experience is obviously better for those specific devices.

  • Easy Maintenance

In responsive design, elements may wander around, which might cause text portions to become too wide or too narrow or distort images while Adaptive designs are tailored to fit screens. They don’t ask for much as all the hard work for necessary functionality has already been put in the initial designing process

  • Integrates Advertisements

A very obvious approach for businesses to make money is by including advertisements on their websites. Adaptive websites allow it simpler to optimize the advertising for adaptive layouts as you are aware of the numerous resolutions your website will be using.

  • Sends less data to browser

Adaptive design websites send less data to the user’s browser as compared to responsive design websites. This is one of the reasons why Websites using adaptive websites significantly load faster than websites using responsive design.

  • Fast Loading

Adaptive designed websites are fast loading. Responsive websites take longer to load because different layouts are used for all screen sizes. However, with adaptive websites, your device already knows how to load the website layout. It significantly reduces loading time compared to a responsive website.

What should be the Approach when choosing?

Responsive web design is typically advised for newly developed websites with plenty of pages. Adaptive designs I believe are better for existing websites because it doesn’t require changing the website’s code and is perfect for web redesigns and enhancements.


Whether you use responsive or adaptive design there’s no right or wrong. It is based on your goals and what you hope to achieve with the design. Go for the design that works best for you. We hope this blog about Responsive vs adaptive design was informative for you. You can also partner with The Web Vital web design team for any assistance or related services.

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