It is somewhat inaccurate to call the responsive website a "mobile website", but the responsive site is an appropriate alternative to the mobile site, and it should therefore be included in any discussion of properly serving your information on mobile devices. Instead of a separate website, the responsive site is a single website, but one that has been designed to "respond" to the size of the screen on which it is viewed.
How does it respond? Through intensive programming and design, the website shifts and re sizes the blocks of copy and images to fit appropriately on each screen.
See a Responsive Website in Action!
Describing a responsive site is easier demonstrated than described, so please open your desktop computer to one of our responsive websites, Apple Annies Orchard, Farm & Country Store.
When viewed on a typical desktop screen, the site is designed to make the most of the horizontal space it has by showing two seperate levels of menu, three locations across the top, and then the content
On the mobile devices, such as an iPad or cell phone, the page shows the menu compressed into a drop down and the locations are hidden to keep the important information visible.
It will be up to the designer to decide the placement of the information (the order in which the information is seen), and any changes that are needed in terms of image sizes, font sizes, etc.
Responsive Website Design
Please know that while responsive websites will contain most, if not all, of the information seen on your full website, there is considerably more work involved in designing websites that pour fluidly into various sizes and shapes in this responsive manner.
Depending on the total content of the websites, having a single responsive website to fit all screens may cost slightly more than having two websites designed, one for desktop computers and a second site designed for mobile devices. The advantage will be that from that point on you'll only need to review and update a single website.