Fixed vs Fluid vs Adaptive vs Responsive Layout: Which is Best?
A fixed-position layout is like a fixed page in the digital format which has a fixed format of text as well as images for the target audience. In order to read the text, a particular user needs to zoom in manually.
As compared to the fixed layout, an adaptive layout can configure itself to the screen size of the particular gadget it is run in. Example, The view for Netflix is different for mobile, tablet, and laptop.
The fluid layout is somewhat similar to an adaptive laptop as it helps a particular webpage to adjust according to the window through which it has been accessed and the adjustment is done with the help of percentages. This layout is also known as the liquid layout.
The responsive layout enables a certain user to access the same content from various gadgets with the same amount of efficiency as it has been created with. The content is viewed with the same clarity as that of a desktop without blurring or breaking of the particular display.
There are some of the screen resolutions that most users prefer for viewing various applications on their gadgets irrespective of the layouts. As per Smashing Magazine, It was found that about 3% of the users prefer a screen resolution which is unknown. Around 4% of the users mostly prefer a screen resolution of around 800×600. Roughly 36% of the users prefer a high screen resolution of about 1024×768. Approximately 57% of the users prefer screen resolution of higher dimensions for better clarity.
Features of a fixed layout:
No technical skill is required
For web designing using a fixed layout, technical skill is not required. The application can be developed using a tablet device like an iPad without any expertise. However, the tool shall not support any video or audio. The plain text shall be only compatible with such a layout. Also, the cost of such a tool comes to around $7. This feature also makes it suitable for books which can be used for toddlers with simple text.
Basic technical skill requirement for templates
Even though the templates are free for a fixed layout, the skill requirement for the same is basic. The process also does not consume time and can be achieved quickly. Advanced skills are required if images are complex, the text is of higher level, audio is included, and coding for video needs to be configured. Content level turns high with images, encouraging books of medium size out of a free tool.
Simple feature for searching text
As the page layout is not complex, the navigation through the particular web page becomes very easy. It is fast for small sized e-books and is designed in a very professional manner. However, the text searching feature comes handy only for the publisher. Also, the tool comes free of cost only for the publisher and is chargeable for all other users who request for the constellation.
Expertise is required for code development for all types of content
For enabling the framework for making it compatible for all kinds of content, expertise is required. Also, the cost for such a reason turns higher as the process is highly time-consuming as well as involves the work of additional labor. But the process is highly efficient for handling all kinds of options involved in a fixed layout and becomes significant for content control in the process.
The cost of conversion of the content varies
There is an additional cost which has to be borne if the content has to be converted into simple formats, medium, or complex levels. Also, the various added features like that of linking, corrections for editorial request, as well as embedding the audio or video in the content shall be charged extra even though there shall be a lesser amount of control on the content in the website layout.
Features of a fluid layout:
The user-friendliness of this very layout comes out in the way that the application developed in such a layout can automatically adjust itself to the screen of a particular gadget like a mobile, tablet, or a screen making it easier to access the content.
Also, it helps in avoiding scrolling continuously for reading the entire content present on a particular webpage. This is also one more reason that such a layout is demanded more for website development.
Appeal to the users visually
One of the unique selling propositions of fluid layouts is that despite page layouts and screen resolution being different on various browsers and gadgets, the fluid layout is visually appealing to all the users. This is also due to the fact that the visual graphics do not get blurred or broken due to alteration of the pixels for image clarity. Example
Any site clicked open for research will have the same features across a laptop, tablet, as well as a mobile phone for usage. The picture quality will not be affected along with that of the content.
Helps in eliminating scrollbars which appear horizontally
The shortfall in a fixed layout is that it has dimensions which are stagnant in nature and cannot change even if they are viewed using a different screen of a gadget. It also cannot configure according to dimensions of the screen. For viewing, there are horizontal bars which are used for scrolling which help in scrolling through the entire content. But, in a fluid layout, such toolbars do not exist as there is no stagnancy and the content flows on to the screen with the help of cascading slides. This also enhances a smooth user experience in accessing the content.
Features of an adaptive layout:
Though it is an HTML based design, the gadget sensation is present
An adaptive web layout mostly uses an HTML based design for all its applications and web designs. This enables a particular application or web page to function according to the gadget it is being used through that is a mobile or a desktop respectively. There shall be no deviation in the content irrespective of the screen resolution.
Common authentication for the user for access
If a particular user accesses its application through the web version, the same password and username shall be used for authentication which is used in the mobile version. There shall be no difference apart from the passwords that lock the gadgets. Some applications may use captcha and recaptcha for verification on the gadgets but not different passwords for authenticating the particular user.
Use in operating systems
Adaptive web layout is highly used for Android which enables its growing users every day. iOS is highly criticized for not enabling the use of a smooth layout in its operating systems for encouraging various users. But off lately, the adaptive layout is being used in the development of Apple phones which has increased its use as well as demand.
Shopping apps are a great example
One of the greatest examples of the use of adaptive layouts is shopping applications which are built for the web as well as the mobile in a way that both versions work seamlessly and have no difference except for the screen resolution it is being viewed in. Also, the functions of viewing the products, adding to the cart, payments and checking out are the same on both the interfaces.
News and lifestyle applications
The opening of the news article by just a click on the web as well as the mobile application in such a way that the content is not blurred and bears the same clarity irrespective of the screen resolution is one of the qualities of the adaptive layout. This can also be experienced in lifestyle applications where newsfeed is viewed about exercises or celebrities. Such applications are adaptive to such a level that the mobile, as well as the web versions, are not different from each other.
Features of responsive layout:
Involves more results with a lesser amount of energy
Not all layouts in comparison to a responsive one shall include only once for updating the entire website layout and leave it independent for functioning. This particular feature is only available for a responsive layout. Also, this layout is cost effective and time efficient with all its features.
The experience for the user is seamless
The responsive layouts involve providing a seamless experience to their varied users across all the gadgets that are possibly used. Also, the view and experience of a user who is a toddler shall receive the same experience from a particular website similar to that of their grandparents. This feature is unique to the responsive layout only and hence while comparing it with other layouts, it stands higher in demand.
When the particular website functions on multiple gadgets at the same time then the number of users are also are scattered among the respective platforms. If the metrics of a particular platform need to be monitored like that of mobile then the option should be only for the mobile such that the monitoring can be done effectively. The similar thing can be done for the website also.
Website is friendly for users
The website or webpage turns friendly for all kinds of users because of the responsive layout for the same. This in turns occurs as the responsive layout enables all the web applications to function according to the particular gadget it is viewed in. It may be a tablet, mobile or a laptop which shall help in viewing the particular content according to the screen resolution as well as the dimensions of the screen it is being viewed in.
Optimization for search engines
Optimization for search engines does not only come handy for digital marketing. It is also important for web layouts in a way that the mobile versions of a particular website or a webpage are highly configured with that of the desktop version. This enables the search engines to elevate such content by increasing its visibility.
While comparing all the respective layouts, it is the CSS fluid layout which is more dynamic for use rather than its fixed version. The fixed layout has limited features and cannot be widely used for web pages or mobile applications. It is quite basic in nature. The fluid layout is just like its name and does not disturb the visual of a particular application on the user interfaces.
Also, it becomes quite difficult when Responsive vs. Adaptive vs. Fluid design is compared as all of them are built out of cascading screens and do not interrupt the screen resolution while on a smaller gadget like a phone or a tablet. However, responsive and adaptive can be used according to the application to be developed.