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Difference Between Responsive & Adaptive Web Design (Mobile-Friendly Web Design Methods)

To simply put, Responsive Web Design (RWD) will fluidly change and respond to fit any screen or device size, while Adaptive Web Design (AWD) changes to fit a prearranged set of screen and device sizes. Unlike RWD which relies on flexible and fluid grids, AWD detects a user’s device prior to loading the webpage, it then delivers the suitable version of the site for that device whether it is a desktop, tablet or smart-phone. Based on a designer’s comfort & expertise level, as well as facets such as time and cost, the person may prefer a methodology over the other.

AWD utilizes the components of progressive enhancement to characterize design methods that focus on the user instead of the browser. Progressive enhancement is a robust technique for web developers creating websites – it is the principle of beginning with a solid foundation and adding improvements over it.

RWD might take additional code and implementation strategies with the fluid grids, CSS, and flexible foundations, while AWD has a streamlined, layered approach, which uses scripting to help with adapting to numerous devices & screen sizes.


Combining both the Responsive and Adaptive Web Design Methodologies is the sure way to create more amazing websites in the future.

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