While designing a website there are three different forms of it namely, adaptive, responsive and mobile. You may be familiar with the responsive web design concept but may not know the real difference of these different forms and the best tools to use to ensure the optimal functionality of each.

In the web designing industry, adaptive and responsive web design are so closely related that these two are often transposed as one. However, the difference lies in the terminology itself.

  • Responsive means being able to react quickly to any changes, and adaptive on the other hand means one that can be easily modified according to a new situation or for a new purpose.
  • Responsive web design facilitates changes depending on the viewport width but adaptive sites are typically designed according to a given set of predetermined factors.

In modern web design, it is ideal to have a combination of these two forms to make a website fully functional.

On the contrary, mobile design is completely different from these two forms wherein the site is typically built on an entirely new and different domain that is targeted for the mobile phone users. This, however, is not a great design idea as these are exceptionally light and the functionality largely depends on browser sniffing and a new code. These can turn out to be real hurdles for both users as well as the developers.

Flexible layout tool

To make sure that the site can adapt to the changes more dynamically to the viewports of the device and different browsers, there is a need to make changes in the content and especially in the layout. This will incorporate a flexible grid in the design that will enable the site to resize and downsize to any width. A specific process is to be followed to build this grid.

  • Ideally, relative length units are used to build flexible grids that are mostly a percentage or ‘em’ units.
  • These virtual lengths are then used to assert the property value of the common grid that includes the margin, width, and padding.

Flexible layouts typically do not promote use of fixed measurement units like inches or pixels. The primary reason for this is that the width and the viewport height will change from one mobile device to another. That means the website layouts must adapt to such changes while the fixed values will have a number of constraints.

This can be overcome using the best tool and formula that is based on the target width of the element that is divided by the width of its parent element providing the relative width of the target element.

Flexible grid formula

When there is a two column layout then the parent division is considered that has a class of container covering both the aside and section elements. This is a complex task wherein the primary objective is to place the aside element on the ride and the section element in the left. However, equal margins must be left between the two.

While using the flexible grid formula the markup and the style can be maintained. This formula helps in changing all the fixed units of length into relative units. Even if the percentages are taken into account the EM units work equally well.

  • The most significant factor of this tool or formula is that it works irrespective of the width of the parent container. The width, section and aside margins will all scale proportionally.
  • When this is applied to each and every part of the grid it will create the most dynamic website that will scale perfectly to all viewport size.
  • It will give more control to the flexible layout allowing you to leverage everything from the min-width to max-width and from the min-height to max-height properties.

However, only following the flexible layout approach is not enough especially when the browser viewport width is so small that scaling the layout properly is not possible. Even if it is scaled, it will create columns so small that it will be almost impossible to display content effectively as it may become illegible thereby breaking the layout.

Media queries tool

In such a situation the only option left open to the graphic design companies is to use media queries that will provide the best possible user experience.

  • These queries are usually built as an extension to the media types and styles.
  • These queries facilitate specifying the styles for each device and individual browser conditions.

It helps in proper orientation of the width of the device viewport and this style eventually opens up a wide range of opportunities to target the styles and leverage the responsive web design.

Therefore, with the help of these tools and formulae you can import new style sheet, avoid additional HTTP requests and include different values and media features.