Yes, I am predicting the death of liquid layout of web pages. Not all mind you, some web apps will still be liquid, but for the rest of the web: liquid is dead. This is a natural next step after declaring elastic layouts dead, so no surprises here.
There are three main ways to define your layout in web design: fixed, elastic & liquid. Having written about the differences between them before, I’ll suffice with stating that fixed layouts are defined in “px” (pixels) and liquid ones in “%” (percentages).
Using a fixed layout means your web page is the same width irrespective of the viewers’ screen width, like so:
Using a liquid layout however, means your web page scales along with the viewers’ screen width, like so:
Liquid layouts used to have an edge over pixel layouts in the sense that they increased use of the screen real estate, thus providing more room if the viewer increased their text-size. Line-lengths are hard to control with liquid layouts, because of varying screen-sizes obviously, but also when the viewer increases (just) the text-size. Jason Kottke posted a good warning about line-lengths in liquid layouts a while back:
Now, however, most browsers have adopted full-page zooming over text-size zooming. Most provide both, but full-page zooming is the new default. Full-page zooming gives users with a wider screen (for example) the chance to increase the size of text and images, while still preserving the ratios of fixed layout pages, like so:
As you can see, full-page zooming means fixed layouts also provide increased use of screen real estate, but only when needed. In addition fixed layouts keep line-lengths relatively stable, and are easy to work with as they are based on pixels, just like images, videos and other objects you may have on your web page.