Optimizing vs. Adapting for Devices

by Luke Wroblewski June 26, 2012

In multi-device adaptation vs. optimization I highlighted a common distinction between responsive Web design and server-side solutions for adjusting Web sites to different devices. Later I read two articles that did a good job of illustrating this distinction.

Optimizing

In Anatomy of a mobile web experience: google.com Ronan Cremin dissected all the server-side adjustments Google does for its home page.

"Google changes essentially every aspect of the HTML and its delivery to ensure a good experience. [...] this level of device adaptation is impossible to achieve after the fact on the client side."

Adapting

In Responsive questions Jeremy Keith tackled common misconceptions and questions about responsive Web design techniques.

"[responsive design] was always about adapting layout to varying viewport sizes. If it’s done right, it won’t be specifically targeted at any particular class of device."

As I outlined in multi-device adaptation vs. optimization, there are great reasons to use both techniques.