Edwin Antonian Team : Web Design Tags : Web Design Content

Responsive or adaptive ?

Edwin Antonian Team : Web Design Tags : Web Design Content

Responsive or adaptive?

While both are attempting to achieve the same goal, responsive design adopts different approaches to serve up content depending on what device you're on.


Definition - Responsive Web Design uses client-side code and flexes to different screen widths using flexible grid design.

Responsive website design is usually the better option if analytics shows a high number of people are visiting a website via mobile device. In this case the mobile-first approach should be taken to provide the right experience for the audience. This will allow:

  1. More tailored content strategy around mobile
  2. Better design decisions which will avoid high resolution images
  3. Stronger navigation design for both desktop and mobile 


Definition - Adaptive Web Design uses server-side detection in order to determine what is rendered to the user. This usually requires a third party tool to provide device detection.

Adaptive website design is great for instances where the project requires a rich desktop interaction, be it content and/or creative. Adaptive allows for:

  1. Specific interaction design according to the device you’re on
  2. More tailored desktop / mobile content
  3. A more personalised mobile / desktop experience

The decision about responsive or adaptive should be made at the start of the project within the team which includes UX / Design / Front-end / Back-end development. The decision upfront will also allow for better design.