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Adaptive Web Design: Everything You Need to Know

In this blog post, you will know more about adaptive web design, why it is important, implementing for mobile views, and when to use adaptive web design.

What is Adaptive Web Design?

Adaptive design refers to graphical user interface (GUI) design that adapts to different screen sizes.

Designers apply it in GUIs, such as web pages, which function on devices of different sizes.

Adaptive design typically uses multiple fixed layout sizes—when the system detects the browser size, it selects the layout most appropriate for the screen.

Adaptive design is similar to responsive design, which also adapts to different screen sizes.

However, the difference between adaptive and responsive design is that the content follows a fixed layout size in adaptive design, while it moves dynamically in responsive design.

In other words, adaptive design uses a few fixed layouts, and then selects the best layout for the current screen size.

On the other hand, responsive design uses a single layout, which resizes according to the screen size.

In adaptive design, developing six designs for the six most common screen widths—320, 480, 760, 960, 1200, and 1600 pixels—is standard practice for designers.

The main advantage of adaptive design is that it allows the designer to tailor-make solutions, so the GUI appears optimally on different screen sizes

The disadvantage of adaptive design is that adaptive design is expensive, because, in effect, it requires the designer to create up to six individual GUIs—or, in a nutshell, the equivalent of six versions of a single webpage so as to have the best one ready to latch with the screen specifications a user needs.

Another disadvantage is that adaptive design might also leave users who don’t have a standard-sized screen without an optimal solution.

Why is Adaptive Web Design Important?

The adaptive website simply detects the type of device it is viewed on and then provides a pre-set layout for the device to fit best on screen.

It is the best way to make the website mobile-friendly.

It ensures the best user experience according to whatever device the user is using to view the website.

These websites are easy to create. 

The adaptive layout is not decided by the client or browser, in fact, it is determined on the back-end where the server determines the type of device and operating system and then corrects the layout.

It also loads faster than responsive websites.

This is because adaptive design transfers only essential assets particular to each device type.

It not only increases user experience but also provides cross-browser and cross-device compatibility.

Implementing Adaptive Web Design for Mobile View

Desktop, mobiles, tablets, laptops, etc., all are important nowadays.

But at present, people generally use mobile phones more than anything.

To view websites, people mostly use mobile phones rather than laptops or desktops.

Therefore, it’s very important for any business to build a website that should be easy to view on a mobile device and also looks great.

If a website does not open properly and easily on a small device, then there are chances that you might lose your customer, and this will reduce the number of audiences to the website. 

Adaptive websites are generally designed to adapt to only specific screen sizes.

It uses two or more versions of websites such as mobile version, desktop version, etc. to fit best on different screens.

In an adaptive web design, one designs multiple layouts of the same website to fit best on specific screen size.

These multiple layouts are designed for multiple screen sizes.

Whenever a visitor or user or customer opens the adaptive website, an adaptive website firstly determines the dimensions of the visitor’s screen, then depending upon screen size chooses the most appropriate layout that will fit the best on-screen size.

Though this website is more complex, difficult, and expensive, it is considered the best way to reach more audiences.  

We can implement adaptive web design in mobile applications by developing an adaptive mobile website.

Enhance User Experience for Mobile Users

An adaptive mobile website aims to enhance the user’s experience on their devices.

By utilizing different layouts, only serving the required scripts and assets and avoiding redirects, adaptive web design allows the mobile and desktop version to act as separate sites without actually being separate sites.

With this approach, a faster mobile experience is created.

Adaptive mobile websites provide a single URL solution that requires no extra maintenance to update.

A single URL removes the need for redirects, permitting the mobile user to arrive at the site faster.

In addition, an adaptive mobile website reflects any changes made to the desktop site instantaneously, cutting down the time needed to keep the mobile site up to date; the mobile site reflects the desktop’s site content in real time. 

Adaptive mobile websites are highly customizable, providing mobile users with a similar experience on mobile that they have on the desktop site. 

For example, National Geographic provides users with a similar experience to their desktop site as they do with mobile with WompMobile’s adaptive solution.

One of the important advantages of Adaptive web design is that it loads web pages faster than responsive web design.

The main reason for this is that in responsive web design the page is scaled down so that it will be resized based on the size of the screen.

So, it takes some time to do the resizing process.

But in adaptive web design the web page will load faster because we have a fixed size for the page.

When to Use Adaptive Web Design

Many people get confused in deciding when to use adaptive web design. Below given are some points to clear this confusion:

  • Adaptive web design is best for existing websites that are much complex and tough to maintain. These websites require another version for mobile devices. The complex design of the past is nowadays reduced by adopting an adaptive web design that makes the website less complex, effective, and user-friendly.
  • Adaptive web design is best for speed-dependent sites. Web-users also like to save time and prefer faster loading of pages because it increases user experience. Adaptive web design creates a different version of websites for different devices so that there is no problem in navigation and increases loading speed of pages.
  • Adaptive web design is best for some websites that are smaller and want to preserve their resources. This is because adaptive websites are easy to create and require fewer resources.


From the above points discussed about Adaptive web design we can conclude that it is one of the most preferable web designs and also the best web design method available for us.

If you want to implement adaptive web design for your website, then get in touch with our web designing experts at Perfomatix.

Perfomatix | Product Engineering Services Company