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Difference between responsive design and adaptive design

Last Updated : 21 Jun, 2022
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In this article, we will discuss the difference between responsive design and adaptive design. Both are the designing part of a website but how both of them are different from each other.

In earlier times, web designers design the user interface of the website by considering the size of the desktop. but nowadays we use websites for Mobile, Tablet, laptops, Wearable devices, and many more devices so the size of the screen differs for each device. Considering these things in mind web designer wants to design a user interface in such a way that it works properly and fully functionally on all types of devices. So Responsive Design and Adaptive Design come into play, Both provide a better user interface for all types of devices but both follow a different path.

Responsive Design:

In this design web designers design the user interface of a website in such a manner that whatever device you are using you can access comfortably web page. if we use a web page on the laptop then it splits into a large view but if you use the same web page on mobile then it synchronizes itself. web designers simply design it by using only HTML & CSS. designer works with the developer for a better user experience.

Adaptive Design:

In this design web designers design the user interface of a website in such a manner that it creates different layouts of the web page for the different devices. so based on the screen size of the device it loads the layout of the page. it creates the different layouts for different devices like screen size as for 320px, 480px, 760px, 960px, 1200px, 1600px. for different sizes of mobile screens, tablet screens, and many more devices it depicts the size of layouts of the screen and displays the content of the page. web designers have to work more because they have to develop six different pages.

The major difference between these two are:

S. No.

Responsive Design

Adaptive Design

1. It adjusts its content and width according to the device. According to the device, it loads the content of the web page that was already designed.
2. Designers have to work less because they have to create the single layout of the page designers Designers have to work more because they have to create six different versions of the site to handle different screen sizes.
3. If there is any new layout of the screen comes into the market, the content is adjusted according to them. Designers have to develop a completely new page if the new layout of the screen has come into the market.
4. Responsive Design works well for larger sites that are being built from the scratch. Adaptive Design works well for smaller sites that are being refreshed.
5. Responsive design is smooth because the layout adjusts in the flow regardless of the device being viewed.  Adaptive design snaps into place since the website is serving something different which relies on device or browser used to view it.

Use of Responsive Design

It has been made easier for less experienced designers and developers to use Responsive Design with the availability of themes via CMS systems such as WordPress, Joomla, and many more.

Use of Adaptive Design

Adaptive is handy for updating an existing site to make it more mobile-friendly.



  • Search Engine friendly
  • There are numerous templates to choose from.
  • Flexibility
  • The design process takes a shorter amount of time.
  • Availability of design for all screen resolutions and sizes
  • Widely used 
  • Easier implementation


  • A company with an adaptive website outperforms on speed tests.
  • Best user experience irrespective to device used.
  • Mobile devices can detect their users’ surroundings.
  • Optimization of advertisements can be carried out through user data from smart gadgets.


  • More Coding
  • Advertisements can disappear from the screen
  • The site speed suffers if not implemented properly.
  • Elements can move around 
  • Download time is more for mobile devices.


  • To begin with, it is normally far more work than building a responsive design. As a result, the bulk of adaptive designs is utilized to modify existing sites so that they may be accessed via numerous devices.
  • Modification in adaptive design websites is complex
  • Not widely used like responsive design


  • Slack
  • Dropbox
  • Github
  • Shopify


  • Apple
  • Amazon

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