Responsive Vs Adaptive Design

Responsive web design (RWD) is an approach to web design that aims to provide optimal viewing and interaction on the web across a wide range of devices.

When we talk about RWD, It’s no longer at matter of simply making your designs and content fit on a smaller device. What should be kept in mind when translating designs across multiple screen sizes is that viewers don’t need all the functionality of a desktop on a mobile device.

This is something that should be thought about carefully, you may want to remove some content and functionality when users are on a smaller screen. For example, nobody wants to sort through pages of content just to find your company’s contact details. Its the missing final touches, and a fair point to be argued in a lot of companies’ web design foundations: adaptivity.

It‘s essential to take a close look at the overall user experience and how it should be adapted to suit the different environments in which it’s being viewed.

There are several problem areas that most companies run into with their responsive websites, two examples would be:

Overcrowding on smaller screens

Presenting data on a small screen often makes it difficult to see or read content, especially tables of information. The W3C encourages brands to choose a method other than tables and tabs to present data; complicated UI‘s often contain too much information for mobile devices to effectively handle.

Think as a user, not as a company

Most important, with responsive design is thinking about the customers’ perspectives vs. the companies’ perspective. Unfortunately, as so often is the case, most businesses will only ask themselves what they want to tell their customers rather than how their customers want to view and interact with that information.

Adaptive design enables the user to have a customized experience based on the device he or she is using.

You can optimise the user experience by tailoring the design and information to the device. For example, if your customer is looking you up on a smart phone, make your phone number prominent and interactive so he or she can easily call. If your customers pull out their phones to look up your business, you should be ready to make life easy for them, if you don’t make it a simple and seamless experience, they’ll just take their business somewhere else.

Is the consumer on a laptop? Perhaps here it’s more important to present product information upfront. The key thing here is to figure out what it is that the user needs based on the device being used, and deliver that experience.

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