When it comes to web designing and programming, a lot of companies are taking the concept of websites way too seriously. Gone are the days when any kind of website was acceptable. A comparison like responsive design vs adaptive design helps in deciding the web design strategy.

In today’s stringent market, websites are like your contact card that you slip on a table to a customer. They help customers identify with your brand and what you are all about. As a result, the overall look and feel, aesthetics and most of all “appeal factor” are some of the primary constituents of a good website. So, a perfect website can help your business standout from the competition in 2020.

Companies are now considering web designing not just an art but also a matter of science. Precision in providing the accurate business flow, the right information and navigation to the users matters a lot in the decade of 2020. Consequently, companies are now employing specialized web designers to provide special attention to detail so that the end user experience is flawless.

If the users are able to navigate smoothly to their required screen or function, then the website is a hit. Otherwise unhappy users imply that business will not be able to capitalize through the website. Taking all these considerations into account help in the web design and development journey in 2020.

Responsive Design vs Adaptive Design - What is Best
Responsive Design vs Adaptive Design – What is Best

Responsive Design and Adaptive Design – Definitions

Websites can either be responsive or adaptive in terms of their design. The Internet has a split of opinion when it comes to the argument between responsive design vs adaptive design as both of these web design types have their pros and cons.

By definition, an adaptive design is the “old school” way of web deigning. It’s the way websites have been typically designed throughout the years. Meaning that the design has different layouts that adapt to specific screen sizes. Adaptive websites have progressive enhancement where that have JavaScript (JS) based script to change the site’s HTML markup based on the device’s capabilities.

When it comes to responsive designs, they are usually a single static page which looks the same and resizes content across all devices. Responsive websites use media queries to target breakpoints that scale images, wrap text, and adjust the layout so the site can fit any screen size. It can be done with HTML and CSS, or HTML5 and CSS3.

Responsive Design vs Adaptive Design – Features

The following features play role in responsive design vs adaptive design differentiation and help in selecting the perfect web design theme.

  • Development Time
  • Flexibility
  • Loading Time
  • Budgeting
  • Advertisements
  • Reusability
Responsive Design vs-Adaptive Design Features
Responsive Design vs-Adaptive Design Features

Let’s break down these aspects one-by-one below.

Development Time

In terms of the total time spent on website development, responsive web design (RWD) takes lesser turnaround time because you only require a single layout for developing a website. While the adaptive web design (AWD) takes longer to develop because of multiple layouts that need to be created to render a website for different screen sizes.


Responsive websites are more flexible when it comes to maintenance and support. They even are endorsed by Google’s algorithm which automatically puts response websites on a higher ranking for users to browse from. Adaptive websites are also flexible, so they don’t lack much though.

Loading Time

Because of various layouts used for all screens, responsive websites take longer to load. But with adaptive websites, your device knows the website layout to load. It makes the loading time a lot lesser in comparison to a responsive website. This is an appealing factor for customers who usually lose interest in 2—3 seconds of being on a website that takes a longer time to load on the browser.


A lot of companies opt for responsive websites because they are easier to design, develop and implement. You save a lot on various aspects of web designing and development which cost you more through an adaptive website at every stage of website development.


Companies rely on integrating advertisements on their websites which is a very obvious way for businesses to earn – by advertising they make sales. However, integrating ads on all resolutions can be difficult as some ads may not properly configure with the responsive website. This point is covered in adaptive websites where you know the various resolutions your website will be using so optimizing the ads on those layouts is an easier thing to do.


The constant demand for remaining in the business requires continuous re-invention. As a result, your website probably needs to go through a lot of changes or updates in terms of color scheme, theme, images etc.

Adaptive web design allows you to reuse existing code so that legacy code does not get overrun by newer code. This is an appealing factor to consider if you have a website that will go through recurring changes over a certain period of time.

Responsive Design vs Adaptive Design – Who’s the Winner

To conclude responsive design vs adaptive design discussion, it is important to note that both designs have pros and cons. A lot of small to medium sized companies usually have a limited budget. They prefer to opt for a responsive website as it helps them put their digital blueprint on the map. It allows them to start interacting with customers in a minimum frame of time.

Some of these companies also belong to the service-based industries. They usually have websites with a lot of text and images so that the back-end code is not that much. This implies that whenever they make some changes in the code, it doesn’t affect the website as much. Hence, it allows them in smoother transition to the updates.

However, adaptive websites hold their prominence for companies with extensive budget and time-frame for properly planning and developing their website. It allows greater control to companies on giving a specific user experience to a targeted group of audience.

Some of the companies that have a web presence for a long time usually prefer keeping their legacy code. Moving ahead with an adaptive website makes more sense to maintain and re-use the code. This may give an impression of being stuck with an adaptive website. However, its lesser loading time and the feature of accommodating advertisement are some of pros that enables companies to sustain and grow their business.

Need Responsive Design or Adaptive Design for Website
Need Responsive Design or Adaptive Design for Website

Finishing Up

In today’s global market, all companies understand the importance of having a powerful website. It helps them in engaging, capturing and retaining users. Both adaptive and responsive designs have their advantages and disadvantages.

The need is to realize what exactly is your requirement and which web design helps you without compromising on your capacity (budget and time both). Innovative web design ideas can make your website the next success on the Internet.

Do you require a responsive design or adaptive design for your website? At Techliance, we have expertise on designing and developing adaptive and responsive websites. Contact us today for a free discussion about your website project.