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Create multicolumn lists

By MaryWeilage Editor ·
In this week's Design and Usability Tactics newsletter, Michael Meadhra provides tips on how to create multicolumn lists.

Which of these multicolumn list techniques fit best with your approach to page layout? Do you use CSS to create multicolumn lists and text, or do you fall back on tables when you need to work with columns?

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by ryan In reply to Create multicolumn lists

Good article and content, had never seen the <ol start="x">
before. Thanks!

However, the rest of the article seems tremendously similar to
one of Holly 'n Johns pieces published earlier this week at
Community MX. It goes a little more in depth to the floating and
resizing shenanigan prevention via ems, and credits some other
prior art:

Looks like yet another instance of near-simultaneous invention
hitting the CSS-layout world!

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Coincidence indeed

by Meadhra In reply to Coincidence?

Hmmm, this is interesting. I submitted the article to for editing and processing almost a week before the Community MX piece was released, so there's no way either article was copied from the other.

That said, none of us work in a vacumn (or at least, we shouldn't). I frequently read articles by Big John & Holly, Eric Meyer, and many others when researching a topic for a project or article. It's not practical to mention every article I've read as general background on a topic, but I always try to credit the originator of a specific, detailed technique or major work.

Michael Meadhra

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call me crazy, but........

by elliott In reply to Create multicolumn lists

Okay, I am new to your articles, just subscribed last week, so have probably missed out on something important said previously. So I will probably be sorry I asked this question and end up looking very foolish, but hey, tossing-caution to-the-wind.............

What is wrong with just using tables to create columns?

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Couldn't agree more

by n.vanrijnberk In reply to call me crazy, but....... ...

do not use tables for pagelayout if possible
use tables for layouyt data

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the point of a list

by johnthebig66 In reply to call me crazy, but....... ...

Visually, a table can create these columns just as, or more easily than a list that is manipulated this way. The difference is in the structure of the source. Three table cells in a row form three discrete lumps of content, but logically this is a single list, not three seperate lists.

By using a single list in the source and having it be split up only via CSS, that clean contnt structure of a single list is not altered. This can really matter if you should ever become blind and have to have pages read to you by a screen reader.

Also, future search engines might be able to take structural lists into account, but only if you actually employ real lists and not segmented tables to display a list in several columns.

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