Adaptive VS Responsive Design: Are You Sure Your Website is Mobile Friendly According to Google?

responsive design

Nowadays, everyone has the word ‘mobile’ drilled in the back of their minds. And why shouldn’t they? Within just a few years, mobile has taken over the Ecommerce sphere and brought significant opportunity to businesses. From a time when purchases were solely made on desktop to an age where you pull out your cell phone to make a purchase, the impact that mobile has made is evident.

“The web’s moved beyond the desktop, and it’s not looking back. The number of devices we’re designing for is growing just as quickly as mobile traffic.” – Ethan Marcotte

A comScore survey reported that roughly 86 million people living in the U.S. shop using their smartphones. But that’s not the only device that’s popular. 72% of individuals that own a tablet make weekly purchases on it, according to Google.

Convenience is key when shopping online, so it’s no surprise that shoppers opt for making mobile purchases. It’s easy, it saves time and it’s practical. However, that can easily all turn around if the website they land on isn’t optimized for mobile.

Make Your Brand Mobile Friendly or See a Higher Bounce Rate

Mobile commerce continues to grow and, as reported by Internet Retailer, is now accountable for almost one-third of all Ecommerce sales in the United States. Sure, it’s great that you built a website to target these consumers, but if it’s lacking in the mobile-friendly department then you’re pretty much asking for them to abandon your website.

This is why designing your site specifically for mobile is important. It’s actually so important that if you don’t, 30% of people will drop off and fail to complete a transaction online.

Let’s Get Technical: Choosing Between Adaptive Web Design and Responsive

Now that it’s understood that not having a mobile friendly website is detrimental to your business, what type of layout should you use? Well, the two popular ones for mobile friendly viewing are adaptive and responsive design.

“Responsive web design (RWD) is a setup where the server always sends the same HTML code to all devices and CSS is used to alter the rendering of the page on the device.” – Google

When a website is coded with one, adjustable URL structure that responds (i.e. grows or shrinks) to multiple screen sizes regardless of the device being used, it’s made with responsive design. Ethan Marcotte, the web developer/designer that invented the term, defines it as “marrying fluid, grid-based layouts” so that the design “responds to the shape of the display rendering it.” Sounds pretty user-friendly if you ask us!

Unlike responsive that uses one design, adaptive uses numerous predefined layouts that first detect the type of device and screen size before loading the fixed, applicable version made for that device. Basically, different versions of a website are programmed in advance by a developer to cater to varying screen sizes of devices such as smartphones, desktops and tablets. The end result is a unique version already chosen for a specific device. In essence, still user-friendly but could involve more work.

responsive design

As far as similarities go, both serve the universal purpose of providing a positive user experience across multiple mobile devices. However, if you lean more on the side of consistency (as you should in the web world), you might want to think twice about using adaptive instead of responsive design. Since adaptive is built with different layouts and basically generates a custom-made website for each device requesting access, consistency can fall a little short.

The great thing about responsive design is that you don’t have to build different versions of a website; all that’s necessary for a seamless viewing experience is one design that delivers a consistent look and feel no matter what. Even Google has hinted at having a preference to responsive design. In an article from Search Engine Land, they suggested that it’s best to use techniques of responsive design in order for an equal experience to occur on desktop and mobile.

In the end, your main goal should be to design a mobile friendly site that provides a satisfactory viewing experience for mobile users.

Not sure if your site meets that criteria? Take the mobile friendly test to find out if your site is optimized for mobile. If it’s not, don’t panic! J.M. Field Marketing will perform a rigorous analysis of your website, determine what isn’t working and use responsive design to make it mobile friendly and easily navigable. Reach out to our expert web team today, so we can strategically evaluate your website and provide a solution!

Adaptive VS Responsive Design: Are You Sure Your Website is Mobile Friendly According to Google? was last modified: October 1st, 2015 by Kara
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