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I have a website that has a menu at the top. On some pages there is a sub menu that is at the left hand side, but this is only on some pages. How then would be best to design the page layout given that some pages wont have a left hand nav column? Should I have the column anyway but just make it empty for consistency? Or increase the page size to take into account the extra space from no navigation? Or keep the page the same size and omit a left hand column?

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migrated from Jul 21 '11 at 13:24

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

Don't think of it as the normal state sometimes leaving a blank space at the left, but think of it as a full width page sometimes indenting to allow for a navigation column. Suddenly all your issues of worrying about a blank area are gone. So long as your main content can flow accordingly there's no problem with this.

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Most designs I've seen have the main container stretch to fit the area where the left column would be. The only reason I would keep the main container the same size was if you had something else in that left column.

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You can have a single button which on click will display the left column and it will not occupy the space. It can be placed commonly in all pages.

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