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Ask Your Naperville Web Developer: Do I Need Adaptive Or Responsive Website Design?

When Google implemented its 2015 ranking signal that rewards websites it considers “mobile-friendly,” site owners and web developers were faced with a big, important question: What’s the best way for a Naperville web developer to achieve a fully mobile-responsive website? Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all solution, and each solution comes with its own set of benefits and drawbacks.

There is a mobile-friendliness testing tool from Google, which you can use as a starting point in understanding whether or not your site is currently considered mobile-friendly, and why or why not. Once you understand your site’s strengths and weaknesses in terms of its performance on mobile devices, you’re in a better position to evaluate whether you would derive more benefit from responsive website design (RWD) or adaptive website design (AWD), and find the right web developer to create a website that helps your company grow.

  • Naperville Web DeveloperResponsive Website Design – RWD is a popular choice for designing websites that are effectively mobile-friendly. They generally create easy navigation and consistent appearance across platforms, and are easier to build and maintain, and less costly to set up and maintain than an AWD design. The potentially significant drawback is that Google also counts site load time as a ranking signal and RWD sites load more slowly than AWD sites. The page load time can be improved by optimizing certain parts of the code, or getting a site speed optimization service, but it still works by scaling and shifting the elements of the desktop site, and it does not achieve the load speed of an AWD site, even under the best circumstances.
  • Adaptive Website Design – AWD works differently, by having different versions of the site for each of six most common viewport widths. That means you can custom-design for each of the most likely screen sizes your customers might be using to view your site, which the server will automatically detect and deliver the right experience for the user’s device. When designed correctly, AWD offers faster page loading than RWD, and it can be used to “retrofit” an existing website that is not currently mobile-friendly. The downside is that you’ll need at least six versions of your site designed and maintained: Greater control and flexibility at a higher cost.
  • How Are Your Customers Using Your Site? – A fact-based understanding of how your particular customers and prospects are accessing your site should inform your design decisions at every level. Start with your site analytics; don’t make assumptions based on generalizations if you already have a site and analytics are available to you. RWD actually shifts the page elements in order to fit various display sizes, so if your users are primarily accessing your site through mobile devices, it takes extra care to create a RWD site that gives the experience and functionality you intended to all of those users. On the other hand, if your site is mostly accessed by desktop users (as often happens in B2B situations), you may determine that AWD is overkill for your purposes.

Work With A Professional Naperville Web Developer

It’s true that platforms like WordPress and Joomla make it easier for people to build their own websites, but those DIY builds often miss important elements that could help your website attract more traffic and contribute more to your success. A working website is not necessarily an optimized website that takes advantage of the Search Engine Result Page (SERP) ranking boosts available, and avoids SERP ranking penalties. The Naperville web developers and designers at Design & Promote can help you analyze your web traffic and create a website that best supports your sales and marketing goals by giving customers and prospects an optimized web experience.