One-size-fits-all solutions are never a good idea. And no matter what the tag on the shirt may claim, what flatters you may be a huge faux-pas on another – which is why you’d never dress your entire family in the same outfit. Well, one of probably many reasons.

In the tech world, responsive web design (RWD) is a one-size-fits-all solution for websites and landing pages – and just like in fashion, it’s not the best idea.

There is no doubt that RWD is still embraced as THE solution – it’s a popular design choice because it’s a quick and easy fix for companies needing mobile options for their websites. It improves their site experience without the hassle of creating multiple websites.

However the strength and weakness of RWD lies in the fact that it represents a one-size-fits-all approach: a single URL where the same design can be reformatted for viewing on different devices.

The strength and weakness of Responsive Web Design lies in its one-size-fits-all approach.

The Trouble with RWD

It’s when you attempt to optimize for conversions that RWD feels as advanced as a Motorola Brick phone.

In general, RWD restricts creative freedom. Designers must follow rules regarding layouts, containers and grids that are predetermined by the technology. The bigger issue is that it hampers efforts to optimize each user’s experience.

CRO agencies know this. Talia Wolf’s case study is a great example.

In fact, many large tech companies (Amazon, Apple, Twitter, etc.) understand this as well. They have flat out rejected RWD as a mobile solution and avoided the problems by implementing user-agent detection that redirects mobile visitors to separate mobile sites.

Finding the “Perfect Fit”

So what’s a better solution?  Of course, that depends on the situation.

For many companies, a site overhaul to improve mobile engagement can represent a difficult decision. A growing number of companies are electing to maintain their responsive sites while using landing page platforms to optimize their pages for lead generation.

For companies that are prepared to rebuild their site, thanks to dynamic serving, options exist to deliver multiple website versions that use the same URL.

Here are two options worth considering:

  1. RESS, as Bryson Meunier describes it, “uses responsive design with server-side components, i.e. fluid grids for responsive layouts.”  This involves a blend of both client-side techniques, like CSS, and server-side functionality and components optimized for the device displaying the site.The heavy lifting is done on the server, making it easier for browsers, while providing the flexibility to pull off some customizations. That way, you don’t have to limit design options for the desktop by using  a “Mobile First” strategy focused on mobile speed and usability.
  1. Adaptive Web Design (AWD) is the solution we’ve chosen for our landing page platform, as it’s strictly done using server-side components. Device detection allows adaptive design to send HTML, from a single URL, that’s fully optimized for specific device types. This makes it easier to match user intent.  Also, pages load much faster with AWD since only the required, device-specific, files are transferred from the server to each device type.

The AWD implementation we chose incorporates three scalable template versions (desktop, tablet, mobile) with fluid layouts. This solution provides a snap-to-fit display for each device model without us having to constantly update our code as new models are released.

Express Yourself

AWD lets you offer a customized experience for each unique user – one that feels comfortable to them and matches their intent.

It’s like finding that perfect, unique outfit that not only suits your personality but also one that others find attractive. It’s up to you; confine your device types to the same design…or let them wear what suits them best.