Adaptive vs Responsive design and how it benefits Mobile Application Design

Mobile has become an important and necessary prop for we humans. The growing usage of mobile devices some how overtakes big screen desktops and laptops because of its portability and ease of use.

Now if a mobile device is that much important, how could we forgot to discuss its application usability. So let’s get started with the term responsive layouts. You may hear this term in various talks about website design. But today we gona learn responsive/adaptive designs in terms of mobile application design.

There is an ongoing popular assumption that responsive web design is the right approach to take for websites and applications for mobile environment. And the statement is somehow very correct that mobile first combined with responsive design can bring excellent results.

Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works. — Steve Jobs

Responsive design

Responsive design is an approach aimed at allowing digital pages to be viewed in response to the size of the screen.

Adaptive design

Adaptive design ensures the creation of multiple versions of a digital page to better fit into users’s device, as opposed to a single version.

So now we understood the two terminologies, its time to make usage of it in mobile application design.

If I talk about responsiveness then a mobile application should be responsive enough to look similar in variety on screen resolutions and devices. This is essential because once user get connected with any brand, different(device wise) design layout can result in loosing user’s focus, as it is hard to remember things if we often see them in different aesthetics.

Now comes the most important part adaptiveness. Adaptiveness makes accessibility possible. It allows us to go beyond the sense of a user using mobile device in a specific context. For example: If i am walking through a grocery store, responsive design will show appropriate images and text but adaptive design will figure out very intelligently and recommend appropriate grocery item, depending upon my previous purchases.

Adaptive design will also ensure that the actionable item should always be easy to access and clearly visible. In this situation the Buy/Add to basket button’s position must be at the most reachable(reachable to thumb) area.

So instead of making the CTA(Call To Action) tinier. You must exaggerate it and make it larger enough to impact its usability to converging to the flow.

I think the term responsive and adaptive are much clearer now. So let’s implement it in your next application design.

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About Author

Kailash Singh Bhati is a Vice President of Design at Punchh, leading a highly creative team of designers and looking for real and tough challenges that can squeeze out the best of him.

Follow him @singhkailash_