Why are web design so important?

According to WebFX, if given only 15 minutes to go through some content, most online viewers would prefer something designed aesthetic& beautiful rather than something simple & bland.

We, humans, exhibit an intrinsic attraction toward aesthetically pleasing things. A user-friendly web design sets an excellent first impression. It influences your audience, affects your SEO, and decides the site’s traffic, engagement & retention.

Today, the industry’s two top trending design approaches are responsive and adaptive web design. Let’s look at both approaches and compare their pros & cons.

Making A Webpage Responsive

The key idea is to design pages that look good across all devices!

Used extensively, you will find responsive web pages everywhere, from e-commerce sites to tutoring portals, Oxford assignment help websites, online blogs, etc. A responsive web page adjusts automatically for different screen sizes & viewports. Designers and front-end developers program a page’s HTML & CSS to resize, shrink, enlarge automatically, and fit. This makes a page look good on desktops, laptops, smartphones, smart televisions, etc.

Check out the technicalities below.

  • Setting The Viewport

The first step to making a website responsive involves adding the viewport meta to all appropriate web pages.

<meta name=”viewport” content=”width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0”>

Adding the above sets the viewport of a page and instructs the browser to manipulate the page’s dimensions & scaling.

  • Making Images Responsive

Responsive images scale nicely and fit any browser size. You can make your images responsive using a variety of techniques.

  • Use The width Property.

If the CSS width property is set to 100%, the image will act in a responsive manner and scale up or down.

Here’s the code à 

<img src=”img_bird.jpg” style=”width:100%;”>

  • Use The max-width Property

If the max-width property is 100%, the image will scale down whenever necessary but never scale above its original size.

The codes is as follows: <img src =”img_bird.jpg” style =”max-width:100%;height:auto;”>

  • The HTML <picture> element

The HTML <picture> element allows designers to add different images for varying browser window sizes—the image changes as the browser width changes.

Here’s the code snippet à 

<picture>

<source srcset=”img_smallflower.jpg” media=”(max-width: 600px)”>

<source srcset=”img_flowers.jpg” media=”(max-width: 1500 px)”>

<source srcset=”flowers.jpg”>

<img src=”img_smallflower.jpg” alt=”Flowers”>

</picture>

  • Making Texts Responsive

The text size of a responsive page can be set with a “vw” unit, which denotes the viewport width. Doing so makes the text size follow the browser window. Following is the code snippet à 

<h1 style=”font-size:10vw”> Hello World </h1>

Note that the viewport is the browser window size. So, 1vw= 1% of the viewport width; if viewport is 50 cm wide, then 1vw is 0.5cm.

  • Responsive Media Queries

Besides scaling & resizing images and texts, responsive webpages have media queries to define new styles for different browser sizes.

Here’s the code à 

<style>

.left, .right {

float: left;

width: 20%;

}

.main {

Float: left;

Width: 60%;

}

@media screen and (max-width: 800px){

.left, .main, .right{

Width: 100%;

}

}

</style>

And those were the essential steps toward making a content-rich webpage responsive. Next up, we look at the steps for creating a webpage adaptive.

Adopting An Adaptive Web Design

An adaptively designed web page boasts a GUI design that adapts to different screen sizes. Just like the responsive approach, graphical user interfaces function on other devices with varying view layouts. The adaptive design adjusts to multiple fixed layout sizes—when the code/system detects the browser size, it automatically selects the most appropriate layout for the screen.

The front-end codes for designing adaptive and responsive web pages are pretty similar. However, there are some key differences as well.

  • The content follows a fixed layout size in the adaptive design while it acts dynamically in the responsive design.
  • Adaptive design uses multiple fixed layouts and chooses the best format for the current screen size. Developers use six different configurations for six common screen widths – 320, 480, 760, 960, 1200 and 1600 pixels.
  • The most significant advantage of adaptive design is that designers can adapt the GUI to different screen sizes.
  • The biggest disadvantage is its expensive nature, as designers need to create six different GUI templates. Another drawback is that adaptive web pages do not offer any optimal solution for users without standard screen sizes.

So, now that you have some ideas about both the responsive & adaptive design approaches, which one do you choose? Well, it all boils down to your intentions and designing capabilities.

Adaptive vs Responsive: Think Before Choosing

An article by UPxin highlights Google’s preference for responsive website designs. All of Google’s prominent rollouts and updates rank responsive and mobile-friendly websites higher than others. This is simply because a responsive, user-friendly website has more readability, better performance and boasts of a better UX.

Deciding upon a particular approach may become more manageable if we compare its pros & cons.

  • Responsive design is fluid and adapts to any screen size, no matter the target device. Responsive employs CSS media queries to change styles such as display types, width, height, etc., as per the target device. Layouts are dynamic for responsive websites as they adapt seamlessly to different screen sizes.

Adaptive designs, on the other hand, use static layouts based on breakpoints that don’t respond once loaded initially. Instead, adaptive design detects the screen sizes and loads a layout accordingly.

  • It might seem that developing an adaptive webpage requires more work. For example, you need to design layouts and viewports for a minimum of six different screen sizes. However, conjuring up a responsive design can be tricky as improper use of media queries can affect display & performance.

The Final Decision – Responsive vs Adaptive Web Design

It all boils down to what your viewers like & want.

  • Know your audience, and understand how they access your website and what they expect. Once you know what they like, choose one that aligns closely.
  • It also depends upon the nature of your site- whether you are working with an existing one or building one from scratch.

Responsive designs have become the go-to design technique, with more than 1/8th of all websites online switching to it. Moreover, adoption rates for responsive web design are increasing exponentially and reaching levels like that of standalone mobile sites.

  • Responsive designs may seem the better choice, given their ease of implementation. But when performance becomes an issue, the scales tip favoring its counterpart. If you have the time & resources, adaptive pages perform better than responsive designs.

Here’s a look at the respective load time for the same content.

  • The difference in load times arises because responsive websites download everything viewable on a desktop for other devices. While this flaw can be overcome using media queries, it stands as a significant reason why responsive designs aren’t best for smartphones.

Better coding is the best way to optimize responsive designs for a plethora of devices.

In conclusion, we can say that responsive designs will remain popular simply because there’s no other easier alternative to adaptive design. Adaptive design requires more coding and heavier maintenance, and most aren’t inclined to do all the hard work involved. Yet, improvements will most likely emerge, and adaptive design may give responsive a run for its money.

And that concludes this write-up. I hope you learned something useful and made better UX design choices with this article. All the best!

Author-Bio: Terrence Hughes is a web designer and developer from Manchester, the UK. A full-time UI design & front-end programmer, he is also an assignment helper at MyAssignmenthelp.co.uk, a leading academic service provider in the UK.

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