The buzz on responsive design hasn’t even reached a fever pitch with most business owners yet along comes the next best thing. Or is it? I think it is more of a marketing alternative than a new way to design. I’m talking about Adaptive Delivery.
Responsive design in a nutshell is a website that has been designed to “respond” to whatever device it is being displayed on. And by “respond” I’m not talking about being able to view your website on a smartphone which most phones can display with no special coding. Instead I’m talking about your website re-configuring itself to fit full screen on a smartphone or tablet. This reconfiguration may involve re-sizing images, sliders, collapsing a menu bar into a drop-down menu, etc. Really responding to the device it is being viewed on.
Adaptive delivery is the ability to show different versions of a website depending on the users device and their intent. A good example of this would be a movie theater which on a mobile device would show showtimes and then maybe the ability to buy tickets on a mobile device. One would assume the user is out and about and looking to catch a movie and wants to know what is playing, what time and might want to buy tickets right then. The desktop version of the movie theaters website would probably have that weeks featured new movies in a slider on their homepage, a link to showtimes, a link to buy tickets, a link directions, etc. So with adaptive delivery the website owner can better serve his mobile visitor versus his pc user.
So what is right for your business? As with most business/marketing questions the answer may not be so easy but maybe it should be. Maybe both responsive and adaptive is the way to go. For content heavy websites without a big difference in user intent, responsive is an obvious choice however an ecommerce site where user intent is typically focused both stratigies might be the best choice. As always budget plays a part in the decision as using one or both of the coding techniques is not something you can find out of the box and requires customization to achieve.