OUR BLOG

09 Dec 2014

Responsive VS. Adaptive

By Amir Glatt, Co-Founder and CTO of Duda

When designing and building a website today, it’s essential for enterprises to think about how users will access their website – will it be from desktops, smartphones, tablets (or all three)?

What’s not as clear to many, however, is the best way to achieve this state of cross-device compatibility. Two of the hottest approaches to implementing multi-screen websites are responsive Web design (RWD) and adaptive Web design (AWD), but there is a lot of confusion about the two. While some consider RWD and AWD to be competing, they are, in fact, complementary.

What is Responsive Web Design (RWD)?

RWD is a design technique that results in websites being displayed properly on any screen size.

The main idea behind RWD is that the HTML markup sent from the server is the same no matter which device or screen is requesting the Web page. The only thing that changes is the CSS and Javascript code that formats the content differently according to the screen size using CSS media queries. RWD uses a fluid grid concept where content is split into rows and columns with clear “breakpoints” that determines when columns are “breaking” and are displayed in a new row.

The easiest way to determine if a website was built using RWD is to use a desktop browser and resize the browser window to the size of a smartphone screen. If the site reformats on the spot then you know this is a “responsive site.”

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