• Tom Lewis

The Difference Between Responsive Web Design vs Adaptive & Why You Need It



Has anyone told you that you need to have a responsive website design? What about an adaptive website? And what the heck is the difference between a responsive web design vs. adaptive?


You might think this sounds overly complicated, but technology these days makes this an almost seamless process. Whether you're trying to build a website yourself or you're wondering if you should hire that one team that keeps promising you fancy things like a "responsive website," you should probably know the basics first.


We'll even give you examples so you can see exactly what it means!


RELATED: Why Good Web Design Is Important, And Why You Need It.


What is Responsive Website Design?


A responsive website design (RWD) means your website is easy for people to navigate, whether on a desktop computer, mobile, or an iPad.


If you already have a website, go ahead and open it up on two different devices. Does it look the same on mobile versus your laptop?


If not, your website isn't responsive— and that's a huge problem.


Remember back in the day before we had these supercomputers that nestle snuggly into our pockets? You would Google stuff on a computer.


But now, "mobile devices (excluding tablets) generated 54.4 percent of global website traffic" (Statista Q4 2021).


More than half of your potential customers look at your website on their cell phones. And if your website doesn't adapt to mobile, users will get annoyed and bounce right off your website and onto your competitors. You could be missing out on thousands of dollars worth of revenue.


Here are 3 signs your website doesn't have RWD:


• The load time is slow

• Graphics are cut off on mobile but not on desktop

• Your copy is off-centered


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Responsive Web Design vs Adaptive


A responsive website design immediately adjusts the page on your website to fit the size of the screen. It's a fluid process that many new website builders (Squarespace, Six, etc.) automatically build into their software.



No complicated CSS knowledge required!


However, those with existing websites may find that theirs isn't up to date. Again, look at your website on two different devices, and you'll know whether or not it's responsive.


So, what's the difference between a responsive web design vs adaptive?


An adaptive web design essentially uses multiple design "templates" to determine how it looks on screen. Amazon is one example of a company that uses adaptive web design (AWD).


The desktop version of their website looks uniquely different from their mobile layout. That's because, behind the scenes, their website developers have chosen specific, fixed layouts for Amazon. com depending on what device is detected.


All things considered, responsive website design is the way to go for most companies who want to edit their pages quickly.


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Responsive Website Design Examples


You can look at our client, New Bern, as an example of a responsive website design. Below, you can see that every page of their site is nicely formatted to any device you can think of in any size.



Let's see another example in action. Are you reading this blog on your phone or laptop?


If you're on your laptop, grab your phone and AirDrop this link in Google or Safari. If you don't have AirDrop, just copy and paste this into Google: High Tide Creative responsive website design


Compare the two. Can you easily read the blog on both devices? How does the picture above look on mobile compared to desktop? Now, click around our menu bar and see how smoothly our pages transition on mobile versus desktop.


It's all easy to use, right? That's a responsive website design, and it helps customers stay on your website long enough to contact or purchase from you.



Speaking on contacting, is it time to modernize your company site? Let us know your concerns during your first consultation.

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