Pagination: Tips on Doing it Right
One of the many basic tenets of online content creation is to avoid pagination, or the dividing of content into separate multiple pages. This is especially true for linear articles that should ideally be placed in a single web page instead of being broken down into multiple screens, which only adds the hassle of additional clicks and page loads.
However, pagination can at times prove necessary, as is the case with lists like category pages on e-commerce sites, search engine results pages, text archives, and photo galleries. Pagination is handy in these cases because users don’t want to see a long, full list of content, wanting instead to locate specific items which they can click through to their desired destination.
Here is a brief rundown on the best practices regarding pagination, as highlighted by usability expert Jakob Nielsen.
Offer a ‘View All Items’ Option
Although pagination helps in categorising content, that still doesn’t change the fact that many users like seeing all their options on a single page more than clicking through page after page.
If you have pagination activated by default, it pays to have a ‘View All’ option for users. A View All option won’t get in the way of users who don’t want to use it anyway, so you have nothing to lose having such option for users who may want it around.
Offer a ‘View (X number) Items’
Another alternative is to allow users to choose just how many items they want displayed on a single page. The key here is not to offer too many options; many sites make the mistake of offering the option to view lists by 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 items so on and so forth.
Stick to as few options as possible, like 10, 50 and 100, supplementing it with a ‘View All’ option.
Respect Users’ Customisation Choices
The whole point of offering these display options to users is to make their experience as smooth and convenient as possible. Many sites however, make the error of not remembering a user’s preferred display settings, failing to employ them as the default during the user’s next visit, or worse, after a refresh of the page.
These pointers are fairly easy to employ, and there shouldn’t be a reason why you can offer them to your users.