In the past, the most common way to access the Internet was via a desktop computer. Then laptops came along, which were soon followed by a plethora of devices like smartphones, tablets, and notebooks, each of which have their own screen dimensions and settings. The number and type of devices which people use to browse the internet grows every day. What does that mean for web developers?
It’s easy to think about a website only in terms of how it appears when you look at it, but there’s much more to it than that. If you’re someone who uses multiple devices to access the internet, as many of us do, have you ever thought about how the web pages you view must be formatted differently depending on the device you are using? Most of us take this for granted unless, of course, you’ve tried to access a website on your mobile device only to notice that the sizing or some other element of the display doesn’t seem to be formatted correctly. Maybe you have to pinch and zoom, or scroll both horizontally and vertically. Something is not as it should be.
How can we fix this issue? There are simply too many different screen sizes that exist today to make it practical to redesign web pages differently in order to accommodate any device that might be used to get on a certain page. That’s where adaptive and responsive web design come in. In a nutshell, adaptive web pages figure out the screen size (specifically the width) of the device they are being loaded on and use that information to determine which layout to load. Responsive design, on the other hand, is built with percentages and adjusts the displayed page according to the specific dimensions of the screen being used. Responsive pages are adaptable, but adaptive pages are not responsive. Got it?
As you can see, responsive design continuously changes according to the screen size. Adaptive design, on the other hand, has a limited number of layouts to go off of, which can result in parts of the web page being cut off. In order to make sure all your content is seen (even if it is rearranged depending on the screen that is being used to view it), responsive design is the best option for your web page.
Too technical? Here’s why we here at United WebWorks like responsive web design:
Benefits of a Responsive Website.
Creates a more custom experience unique to each user and the device they are using
- Easier to construct and maintain (especially with ever-changing technology)
- Great for new projects
- Overall greater flexibility, as opposed to adaptive or static web design
Why you don’t want an Adaptive Website
- Difficult to make new websites mobile-friendly
- Requires separate (but similar) designs for an average of 6 or more screen widths
- Web page layout may shift when resolution changes
Why is Design important?
While there are benefits and drawbacks to using either responsive or adaptive design, the number of websites that use responsive design increases each day. As you know, new and updated models of devices that can be used to access the internet are released all the time. Many of these models have different screen sizes as well as different color displays, shapes, and processing capabilities. In addition, you may be familiar with the ability that many devices have to change between portrait and landscape views. In order to maintain a positive user experience, web pages must be able to be viewed in both orientations while also being readable and presentable across devices. This all starts with how each page is designed.
Here at United WebWorks, we are dedicated to creating content that is pleasing to users, no matter how they choose to view it. We are proud that all of the websites we design and create are 100% responsive in order to optimize every user’s individual experience.
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