Experts say 2013 is the year of responsive web design as business owners are focusing on the huge number of mobile users to market their business or products. Even though they might already have a well set-up website that displays all their services and products still they want to make sure they are not just restricted to desktop/laptop users. A larger part of the population these days rely on their mobile devices for communication, information and other things that a while back required a computer or a laptop. So In order for the business owners to reach this part of the population, they need a good looking mobile website as well. A few years back people decided to create 2 website – one for a desktop/laptop user and one for the mobile user. But that time is gone now. Now with responsive web design a website can be turned into a mobile website automatically when it is accessed through a mobile device. It basically adjusts the content of the website according to the resolution/size of the screen that it is being viewed on. So for e.g. A 3 column website would adjust to 2 or maybe 1 column when viewed on a smart phone. [As in the presentation below]
However responsive web design has its own limitations when it comes to performance of the website. Now a website that has HQ images/graphics or maybe a video might be suitable for a fast and powerful desktop but when viewed on a mobile device, it can take forever to load. Thus it is required to adjust the website content in a way so that the performance of the website is not reduced to such a huge extent and the users can have a better experience visiting the website. That is where Adaptive web design comes in. It is quite similar to responsive web design in the fact that it adjust the content of the website according to the screen resolution/size of the device however the difference is that certain elements are modified depending on whether the user has a touch screen or a keypad etc. and thus different layouts will be offered for tablets and mobiles. Heavy elements like images and videos can be edited or even completely removed to speed up the loading time of a page and thus the website pops up without any lag. Thus Adaptive web design removes the drawbacks or limitations that responsive web design has and this is what makes it a better choice over the latter.