3 articles that discuss the differences between "responsive" and "adaptive" web design
- http://blog.easy-designs.net/archives/2011/11/16/on-adaptive-vs-responsive-web-design/
- http://simplebits.com/notebook/2011/08/19/adapted/
- http://www.lullabot.com/articles/responsive-adaptive-web-design

As pointed out by +Luke Wroblewski a while ago.

My take on it is that responsive design is a subset of adaptive design, and that responsive refers specifically to the layout. Adaptive design enhances the functionality of the experience based on the device's capabilities.

Is this device capable of making a phone call? Does this device support touch events? Can this device access a user's location? If so, enhance the experience to exploit these capabilities.

Perhaps you'd want to inject a tap-friendly "call now" button if the device can make a call. Maybe make that sexy image carousel swipeable in addition to the previous/next buttons (but please, don't get rid of the previous/next buttons). Add a "Use My Location" button to deliver store location results instead of having to awkwardly fill out a form.

Responsive design is great and flexible layouts are crucial, but we can't think of our content so one-dimensionally. These emerging contexts provide fantastic opportunities to take advantage of their unique features.
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