Good content is sometimes not enough, the users must reach it so they can see it's good!

Usable pagination

Posted: March 11th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Good practices, Patterns | Tags: , , | 5 Comments »

You would think the most visited sites in the world would have perfect or close to perfect pagination systems, because let’s face it, the users browse a lot (that’s how the websites became most visited in the first place). Well… not really. Although there are good examples, none of them seem perfect to me. Some of them fit the content of the sites they’re on pretty good, google search for example – it doesn’t need anything else, it’s stripped to the skin.


My personal favorite is ebay. It is the only one which jas a “jump to” feature – very useful from my point of view when you have lots of pages (maybe filters too). What ebay lacks is links to first and last pages – a quick way to change the order of browsing.

The links on pages – it’s preferable to have well defined click areas with a few px of padding. It’s damn hard to click those little numbers. Many sites go with the square like links – they are very good, easy to click, follow, see.

Next – Prev buttons – should have indicators: arrows, < >, « » or anything suggesting the direction. The user sees and evaluates these things a lot faster than the word “Next” or “Previous”.

Positioning – bottom of the content is mandatory, but in sites with heavy browsing i suggest duplicating it at the top too. If you have 30 products on a page it takes more to load them and scroll down, so a pagination at the top will increase the speed of navigation.

Here are the examples.

5 Comments on “Usable pagination”

  1. 1 David Hamill said at 11:11 pm on March 11th, 2009:

    I would advise your readers to use caution before deciding on pagination links at all. Often they are not the best option.

    I wrote a post about this a while back:

  2. 2 admin said at 12:35 am on March 12th, 2009:

    I agree that numbers don’t give any information to user (maybe percentage, position), but there are few situations when you can show him something else (letters, dates)

    Let’s say i’m buying a printer and i have 10 pages of printers, ordered by price, i want a printer within a certain rage of prices and i’ll guessing where that may be and i position myself through the price range. Of course a price filter would be nice, but what about other data?

    One more argument, those numbers are familiar to people, if they find a calendar down there will they be able to navigate among content?

  3. 3 Product filters | Usability Thoughts said at 10:49 pm on March 16th, 2009:

    […] was talking the other day about pagination and David Hamill had a point there, those tiny numbers don’t send any message to the user, so […]

  4. 4 Tarek said at 3:39 am on April 14th, 2009:

    There is also the Ajax More-Less feature. The one you see in Twitter, where you click on a button to send an AJAX request and then add more records to the same page you are in.

  5. 5 admin said at 7:58 am on April 14th, 2009:

    the trouble with that feature is that search engines cannot index AJAX generated results…

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