8 December 2015

Moving Towards Adaptive Design


For the last few years, responsive design has been the most important paradigm for building accessible websites for desktop and mobile users, but now ‘adaptive design’ is starting to take over. The main difference between responsive design and adaptive design is that where a responsive website sends a page to a user and allows the user’s device to figure out how to display that page in the best possible way, adaptive design works the other way around, with the server identifying the device that the user is viewing the page on and then sending the right page.

Adaptive Design

Image Credit

Why Use Adaptive Design?

There’s a reason why more and more companies offering web design in Somerset are moving towards adaptive design, and that is speed. With responsive design you need to send bloated pages that load more slowly and that tax the processing power of the devices used to display them.

Moving over from responsive design to adaptive design could be as simple as changing the theme you use for your website, if your site is powered by a popular content management system. However, if you rely on a bespoke system, then things may be more complicated. You will need to use a new framework for your website, and this could take an extensive rewrite.

With adaptive design, all of the load is taken by the server. The device gets exactly what it needs, and the page displays perfectly within moments, which is why web design in Somerset companies such as http://www.somersetwebservices.co.uk/ are moving towards this technology.

A New Framework

However, in the long term adaptive design has a lot to offer and is worth that up-front investment. Adaptive design shows exactly the right layout for the device in question, so if you code for the main devices that your users visit your site with, you will find that conversion rates increase and so does visitor retention. With adaptive design, it is a good idea to design for 320px, 480px, 760px, 960px, 1200px and 1600px width screens. These are the six most common widths, and if you code for those your site should work on any device.

While this might seem like a lot of work, it is often easier than taking a responsive approach, since media queries with responsive design are more error-prone, while the systematic nature of adaptive design makes things go more smoothly.