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Find out the difference between Adaptive Web Design and Responsive Web Design

Nowadays, website accessibility has turn out to be one of the hottest topics of discussion among web developers and designers all over the world. Website owners have become more alarmed about their site’s accessibility via devices other than the standard laptop and desktop screens. This growing concern among website owners has given birth to a spanking new form of web design called the Responsive Web Design. With tablets and mobile devices achieving grounds at rate of knots, it is turn mandatory for every entrepreneur to ensure that his/her website is responsive and compatible with all internet-enabled devices.

Even though, both Adaptive Web Design and Responsive Web Design render mobile-friendly websites, you might be pondering over what makes them two autonomous entities. Well, I’ve written this article to make you well-known with the basic differences between an Adaptive Web Design and a Responsive Web Design.

The very first difference between Responsive Web Design (RWD) and Adaptive Web Design (AWD) is that the former one will gracefully change and respond to fit a set of devices and screen sizes though the latter will systematically change to fit the screen and device extents. Here’s a list of other evident differences between the both.

How to maintain AWD and RWD separately?

Adaptive Web Design awaits you to develop and keep separate websites either by separate URL or by separate HTML/CSS code. In comparison to this, a responsive web design relies on existing HTML/CSS3 and JavaScript, saving you from the troubles of maintaining separate HTML/CSSs and/or URLs.


While adaptive web design (AWD) relies on predefined screen sizes, responsive web design (RWD) bank on flexible and fluid grids. In other words, RWD requires more coding and operation tactics to suit the web pages of fluctuating screen sizes although AWD previously has a streamlined approach wherein web pages utilize a scripting in order to familiarize to various screen sizes.

Effective and Reliable

Adaptive web designs are implemented on a pre-existing site however in case of a responsive web design; you need to regenerate the site from scratch.

Size & Screen Resolution

Websites designed using AWD have images that are enhanced for exact device screen resolutions whereas the ones designed using RWD contain pictures that are first downloaded and afterwards re-sized to fit the particular device.

In order to design a website using adaptive web design, you need to have an progressive knowledge of CSS and JavaScript whereas in case of designing a website using responsive web design, all you need is information about making changes to the existing codes.