How Can I Tell if My Site is Responsive or Adaptive?
There are a few techniques used to serve your content across devices. Two of the most common are adaptive and responsive design. However, telling which design your site has can be a little tricky.
Responsive websites will change their layout in order to fit the browser window. If you are on a desktop device, drag your window to resize it. If the site changes layout while keeping all of its elements, it is designed to be responsive. If certain features do not show up when the screen size shrinks, your site is presenting different HTML and is designed to be adaptive.
Responsive sites will also have different elements within the source code. If you open a website on your browser window and press CTRL+U, you will be able to scan the code for the word “responsive,” linking to the stylesheet. Once you get to the CSS page, you can search for “@media,” which power the responsive aspects of the site.
Adaptive sites change based on device, regardless of the size of your screen. If you are using a tablet or large cell phone with large screens, you will still be viewing mobile-specific content and HTML. You can see this on desktop through a browser extension. First, you should clear your browser history of cookies in order to view the proper setting. When you switch the user agent, you will notice several changes in the display of the website. The header image will appear smaller, and changing the size of the display window will create extra white space around the header image.
Some websites can be adaptive and responsive at the same tie, by using a technique called RESS (Responsive with Server Side Elements). The layout will be more fluid, but some elements will display smart banners or change text throughout the page. Both designs can be used across the same sites, with changes based on search behavior for different page categories.
Having a website that can adapt for different screen sizes is important for the user experience. To figure out which design is best for you, take a look at where your search traffic is coming from.