Adaptive vs Responsive Design | How Do They Differ?

Adaptive vs. Responsive Web Design

The trend of web design has changed over the years. Previously, people only focused on creating a web design that fits on a desktop screen, but when mobile phones became popular, things fell apart. Now, developers are focusing more on fitting the web designs almost on every screen. But there is still a lot of confusion among naive designers. They are unable to distinguish between adaptive and responsive design. Therefore, before discussing adaptive vs responsive design in detail, let’s brush up on some basics first.

Definition of Adaptive Web Design

Adaptive designs are fixed multiple layout designs, structured to fit specifically on the browser environment. Whenever the system detects the size of the browser, it automatically adjusts the most appropriate layout on the screen. These designs are designed to make the user experience more friendly and one of the first strategies for optimizing a site for mobile readability.

Definition of Responsive Web Design

Responsive designs are intended to provide the user with an optimal viewing experience. No matter what the screen size is, the same layout will automatically adapt itself to the screen. Using flexible grids and layouts, images, and CSS media queries, a person can develop a responsive web design, which can adapt itself according to the platforms.

Adaptive vs Responsive Design

Adaptive vs Responsive Design,

Although both adaptive and responsive designs are intended to improve the user experience, they still make some differences.

Let’s Simplify

Page Loading Time

A slow-loading web page always returns valuable customers from your site and is the reason for the bounce rate increase. Creating a user-friendly design on your website usually helps reduce loading time and engage more people on your site. In terms of loading time, adaptive designs are much faster than responsive ones. The reason behind this is that the adaptive designs are static and designed keeping in mind the size of the device. While the responsive ones adjust themselves according to the screen size. Therefore, take longer to load.


Gone are the days when people used to search for information on desktop, now people are more reliable on their mobile phones. But nowadays phones are having different screen sizes. Therefore, to give every user a pleasant experience, there should be a design that fits comfortably on any screen. Responsive sites are, by default, flexible enough to work well on their own on any screen, as opposed to adaptive websites that sometimes require maintenance.

Crawling and Indexing Efficiency

Since July 2018, Google has changed its preferences. Now, Google is more concerned about the responsiveness of web designs on mobile phones. If your website is slow or unresponsive on mobile, it lowers your overall ranking worldwide. Thus, to rank high on search engines or to increase crawling efficiency, it is important to design a mobile-friendly website, which is slightly more challenging in adaptive designs than responsive ones.

Design Development 

Some people believe that creating an adaptive design is difficult because you need to create different layouts so that the design can adapt to different screen sizes in contrast to responsive design. But according to experts, responsive designs are a bit more complicated than adaptive ones. Responsive designs require more effort and time. Here, you need to pay extra attention to your site’s CSS and organization to ensure it works well on all the screen sizes. 

Responsive or Adaptive Design? Which One is the Best? 

Before making a decision, one must carefully consider the pros and cons of responsive and adaptive design. Most new sites implement responsive web designs in their website as it provides the best user experience across all devices. In addition, nowadays WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, and many more free and open-source content management systems are available. Thus, making it easy for less trained designers and developers to design responsive web pages. But we cannot ignore the benefits of using adaptive design because it is well suited for websites that use advertisements to generate revenue. Primarily, understanding and planning of your needs, goals, and budget should be decided first, and based on that you should make your decision.

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About Vaishali Bhatt

Vaishali is a technical writer at iByte Infomatics as well as a freelance copyeditor. So far, she has proofread around 500+ articles and has written numerous tech and non-tech articles from various niches, which reflects her stronghold on this profession. Her posts are always packed with informative and error-free content. If she's not in front of her laptop, you'll probably find her watching Netflix or making something new in the kitchen.

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