Does One Size Really Fit All?
We all know the drill. Today’s web
users want sites that provide an optimal viewing experience, easy reading and
simple navigation, regardless of whether they’re on their iPhone, their tablet
or their oversized desktop monitor.
Yet with so many mobile devices and
screen dimensions out there, many one-size-fits-all websites are having trouble
keeping up. Too many devices and sizes are causing chaos for developers—but it
doesn’t have to be that way.
That’s where your choice of website
design comes in. You’ve got two options--responsive web design (RWD) and
adaptive web delivery (AWD). Both can get the job done, but of course, each has
their pros and cons. It really comes down to a choice of tradeoffs: time, cost
and usage. Let’s take a closer look at the two options.
Option 1: Responsive Web Design (RWD)
This approach delivers a single
layout for all devices.
How It Works: Responsive design is client-side,
which means the web page is sent to the device browser (the client). It uses Cascading
Style Sheets (CSS) and media queries to detect the device’s screen size and
then modifies the appearance of the page in relation to the size of the browser
Main Advantage: One of the great benefits of
responsive design is that a single website codebase can serve both mobile and
desktop users. It removes the maintenance nightmare of multiple code versions
targeted at different device types.
Option 2: Adaptive Web Delivery (AWD)
Unlike RWD, adaptive web delivery
provides a distinct layout that’s optimized for each device.
How It Works: AWD is predominantly server-side,
which means the web server does all of the work to detect the various devices
and load the correct style sheet depending on the device attributes.
Main Disadvantage: While AWD’s customized delivery
seems ideal, there are some downsides. The initial construction is
time-consuming and costly, since so many layouts need to be designed. Also, the
maintenance and updates of multiple layouts represent an ever steeper financial
The Goal: Ultimately
you want to create a simple viewing and navigation experience with a minimum of
resizing, panning and scrolling, across a wide range of devices. Fortunately,
you have two great choices for getting you there.
Need more help? Watch for my next
post in this series: Responsive Web Design vs. Adaptive Web Delivery: Which Is
Right for You? or Contact Us Today.