Today’s digital reality is that consumers are information hungry and device savvy. They want to get information easily and anytime they wish, and mobile web gives them this liberty. Smartphone penetration is spiralling across the globe and in the near future mobile web usage would surpass desktop web usage. In this scenario, having a mobile-friendly web design can greatly help in being available to your target audience all the time.
However, shaping user experience through a mobile website can be a challenging task, primarily because of the limited screen resolution, besides other constraints. The best approach is to get the best of both – responsive web design and adaptive web design techniques.
Responsive web design is all about having fluid grid concept, flexible images and media queries. You don’t need to change the content for a separate mobile website, because CSS, media queries and HTML5 ensure that the content can be adjusted to any screen size. The time and cost of developing a responsive website makes it a preferable way of getting a mobile-friendly website. However, there are some limitations of responsive web design. For instance, responsive websites don’t take into account the behavioural differences of the users using different devices. Moreover, responsive websites generally take greater time to load, thereby, hampering the user experience.
Adaptive web design basically concerns with designing a dedicated website suitable for mobile devices. A dedicated website can be optimised to make the links finger-friendly as well as improve the load speed of the web pages. However, a dedicated mobile website would double up your maintenance time and cost, forcing you to spend more time on this website, besides the desktop website.
By integrating the best features of responsive and adaptive techniques, you can get a hassle-free website that would shape up unique user experiences for mobile web users. This way you enjoy the cost and time efficiencies of RWD, yet offer a better user experience by adding adaptive design principles and prioritising the content area.
However, even this approach can pose challenges in some cases. The information architecture has to be worked out differently for the desktop website and the mobile website. You also have to put in extra efforts in the resizing, special distribution and animation of elements on different devices. Besides this, the developers also have to take into consideration the different screen resolutions and device capabilities when creating the website and optimising the end user experience, irrespective of the device they use to access your website.