Psd to Responsive Conversion

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Tips on choosing between Responsive and Adaptive (flexible) website

One of the hottest issues in web development circles in the recent past has been the accessibility of websites on various devices other than the well known laptop or standard desktop screens. Even though this discussion is not new, it has gained a lot of traction in recent times with many people opting to access the internet using their mobile devices tablets and other similar gadgets to access the internet and get work done.

Due to this, organizations are keen on developing websites which are not only acceptable to users but are also user friendly and easily accessible. For this reason, two methods have been devised for web developers to meet these challenges; these are Adaptive Web Design (AWD) and Responsive Web Design.Even though both of these methods have the main aim of addressing how to render their websites on mobile devices, there are subtle differences between them.

The term responsive web design was coined a few years ago by Ethan Marcotte. RWD is basically defined as a design method which creates a website that fluidly changes and responds to fit any screen or device size. The primary task is usually to incorporate media queries, CSS3 and fluid grids which basically use percentages to create what can be termed as a flexible foundation. The usage of flexible images, fluid type and flexible videos does allow a responsive website to easily adapt its layout to the user agent, or viewing device.

In terms of the client–server distinction, a responsive design is also considered as a client side because the whole page is delivered to the device browser (the client) and the browser is then charged with the responsibility of changing the appearance of the page in relation to the dimensions of the browser window.

On the other hand, the phrase Adaptive Web design was first coined by Aaron Gustafson. The method does utilize three main layers of what is known as the Progressive Enhancement. The three layers used include the content layer which uses rich semantic HTML markup, Presentation layer which uses CSS and styling and the Client side scripting layer which uses jquery or JavaScript behaviors. It uses these components to define a set if design methods that focus on the user and not the browser as in RWD. Using a predefined set of layout sizes based on device screen size along with JavaScript and CSS, the AWD approach basically adapts to the detected size.

On the client-server side, Adaptive design does imply that before even the page has been delivered, the server where the site is hosted is charged with the responsibility of detecting the attributes of the device and then loads a version of the site that’s been optimized for the detected dimensions and the native features.

One of the key differences therefore is in the delivery of the adaptive or responsive structures, whereas RWD relies on fluid and flexible grids and adaptive wed design does rely on predefined screen sizes. RWD does also take more coding and implementation strategies with the flexible foundations, fluid grids and CSS whereas AWD has a more layered and streamlined approach which uses scripting to assist with adapting to various screen sizes and devices.

If you are trying to make an existing website work well on a mobile device and one that harnesses the extra capabilities mobile devices offer such as compass, touch gestures or geo-location then responsive design would be the best option but if you want to build what can be termed a mobile first experience then adaptive design would be the best option.

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Design to Resonsive

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