After a recent Google update in April, all websites are being pushed to become mobile friendly and to be designed with target audiences across a range of devices and platforms in mind. This comes as no surprise considering the amount of mobile devices being used to access the Internet. For this reason, it is important for companies to design their website with a friendly design structure. One of these mobile friendly designs is call Adaptive web design.
What is Adaptive Web Design?
Adaptive web design (AWD) aims to create a website that is applicable to a variety of different platforms and layouts, while improving user experience through better and more efficient performance. AWD has several distinct layouts for multiple screen sizes and the layout used depends on the screen size being used by the website user. This means that if a user comes to a website on a mobile phone, AWD will detect which device the user is on and display the version of the website that has been designed specifically for that platform. For this reason, the AWD layout is focused on delivering to the server side.
This can be achieved by using either a Dynamic serving URL, where the server responds with different HTML and CSS on the same URL as the desktop version. Alternatively, a separate mobile specific URL can be set up such as an m-dot or a dot-mobi URL for mobile and tablet devices.
When should it be used?
Determining whether your website should be using an adaptive structure really depends on the needs of your users and the goals of your website. If your company’s website has requirements that are different depending on the device being used, have a significant amount of traffic coming from different platforms, have the resources needed to design and maintain AWD templates and could benefit from delivering a more contextually relevant experience, then adaptive design could be worth the investment. If your website doesn’t require a lot of varying content and images to be displayed across a range of platforms then responsive web design (RWD) is a better option for your business.
The pros and cons of Adaptive Web Design
There are both advantages and disadvantages to having an AWD structure. The most notable advantages include fast and efficient page loads, a tailored experience for the user, an ability to build upon your existing website without needing to start from scratch, a wider audience reach and a single website URL. AWD is designed to improve load time performance and overall user experience. Due to its adaptive delivery it only transfers the information necessary for your user’s intent. Its single URL structure is also very search engine optimisation (SEO) and Google friendly which also reduces the need to have two different content management systems for both desktop and mobile layouts.
One of the drawbacks of AWD is that the final results of templates are only designed for sizes specific to certain devices. For example, each template for each platform is designed to a set dimension. However, if a new device is released with a new screen size it may be the case that none of your templates will be compatible with it. AWD can also be resource and budget heavy. Due to the complexity involved of creating several templates, it may be necessary to have a large team of developers in order to design and maintain them. As this can be time consuming it will inevitable demand a considerable strain on your budget.
Examples of companies using AWD include IKEA, AccuWeather, Turkish Airlines, Apple and Amazon to name a few.
If you are unsure about which mobile friendly design your business should be using, here at evolve, we can advise you as to which design structure will best suit your business and user needs.
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