Responsive web design is rapidly becoming a standard for new websites, but ther are significant challenges with responsive web design. The idea is to present the same content no matter what device the visitor is using.
A laptop, tablet or smartphone have very different technical conditions, meaning the user mist navigate using different techniques, including clicking, tapping, dragging etc. The end result could easily be that the website is optimized for none of these units.
Another problem is the different situations in regards to bandwidth. When using your computer you probably have a very responsive connection via broadband, while mobile devices take a longer time to load.
Adaptive Vs. Responsive
However, responsive Web design certainly has its advantages. It is a cost effective way to deliver the same content to many different screen resolutions. On the other hand, many sites that are currently marketed as responsive in fact use an adaptive layout.
The difference is that an adaptive layout has several predetermined widths. When you change the window size on a page with an adaptive layout, it jumps between different screen resolutions. Responsive layout instead has a fluid layout that changes the site in stages if you change the window size.
The advantage of adaptive layout is that you have more control over how the site is perceived on certain screen sizes. It also takes less time to develop because you do not need to customize the layout for all resolutions. On the other hand, you lose some of the benefits in that the site looks great regardless of screen resolution.