The CSS used for this layout is 100% valid and hack free. To overcome Internet Explorer's broken box model, no horizontal padding or margins are used. Instead, this design uses percentage widths and clever relative positioning.
The higher up content is in your page code, the more important it is considered by search engine algorithms. To make your website as optimised as possible your main page content must come before the side columns. This layout does exactly that: The the right-hand main page comes first, then the left column (see the nested div structure diagram for more info). The columns can also be configured in the opposite order if required.
In this layout the background colours of each column will always stretch to the length of the longest column. This feature was traditionally only available with table based layouts but now with a little CSS trickery we can do exactly the same with divs. Say goodbye to annoying short columns! You can read my article on equal height columns if you want to see how this is done.
This layout requires no images. Many CSS website designs need images to colour in the column backgrounds but that is not necessary with this design. Why waste bandwidth and precious HTTP requests when you can do everything in pure CSS and XHTML?
This layout is fully compatible with resizable text. Resizable text is important for web accessibility. People who are vision impaired can make the text larger so it's easier for them to read. It is becoming increasingly more important to make your website resizable text compatible because people are expecting higher levels of web accessibility. Apple have made resizing the text on a website simple with the pinch gesture on their multi-touch trackpad. So far this trackpad is only available on the MacBook Air but it will soon be rolled out to all of their systems. Is your website text-resizing compatible?
This liquid layout does not require the XML declaration for it to display correctly in older versions of Internet Explorer. This version works without it and is thus never in quirks mode.
Only one stylesheet is used with this layout This means that IE conditional comments are not needed to set extra CSS rules for older versions of Internet Explorer.
This left menu liquid Layout has been tested on the following browsers:
The HTML in this layout validates as XHTML 1.0 strict.
That's right, you don't have to pay anything. If you are feeling generous however, link back to my demo page so other people can find and use this layout too.
Download this layout (20kb zip file).
This layout is fully compatible with my centered menus.