Adaptive web design (AWD) is one of the techniques of addressing mobile visitors optimizing their experience on smaller screens. While RWD might seem a standard approach today, for some websites going adaptive gives more flexibility in adjusting the content to suit mobile users and maximize revenues from mobile sources.
What is adaptive web design?
Adaptive web design, or content adaptation is a website structure in which different website code is tailored for different buckets of users. This can be done using a single URL (Dynamic Serving), or with mobile-specific URLs, such as m-dot or dot-mobi. In both cases server-side device detection is utilized allowing the web server to verify what should and what shouldn’t be sent to the requesting device.
The adaptive approach helps with:
- Catering to the needs of different groups of users coming up with device-optimized website features, menus, images, texts, etc.
- Adjusting the website speed and page weight to suit users on varying connectivity and data plans
If you choose a responsive approach (RWD), device detection is not strictly necessary but all devices receive the same website code which is then rearranged client-side to fit the smaller screen. While this approach is hugely popular, it is not without its potential drawbacks such as heavier page weights and loading speeds. For this reason, the majority of eCommerce big-hitters prefer adaptive web design.