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Pagination on the Internet and why it’s weird

Pagination on the Internet and why it’s weird

A slightly aimless foray into how we sort collections of items on the internet, meant as a basis for a discussion on the topic.

Held at up.front Berlin in June 2012

Alex Feyerke

June 13, 2012
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  1. PAGINATION
    SRSLY.

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  2. soundcloud.com
    /shigeto/tracks?page=1

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  3. But what does that actually
    mean?

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  4. The page with
    the newest stuff.

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  5. So what does this mean?

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  6. The page with the…
    slightly older stuff?

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  7. How much older?
    It varies.

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  8. Fair enough.

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  9. But what will it mean
    in 4 weeks?

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  10. It‘ll mean what page 1
    meant today. More or less.

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  11. The meaning of page
    numbers changes over time.

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  12. 1 2 3 4
    new old

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  13. 1 2 3 4 5
    new old

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  14. 1 2 3 4 5
    new old

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  15. The meaning of page
    numbers changes over time.
    Which defies the
    whole point of a URL.

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  16. Page 2 has no relationship
    to the content of the page.
    It has no more intrinsic meaning than
    next.

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  17. So how is it
    supposed to work?

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  18. So how is it
    supposed to work?
    Like in books. You know:
    where page numbers come from.

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  19. 1 2 3
    old new

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  20. 1 2 3 4
    old new

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  21. 1 2 3 4
    old new
    5

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  22. So. Page 1.
    Book: the beginning
    Net: the end

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  23. So. Page 1.
    Book: the beginning
    Net: the end
    WEIRD.

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  24. On the internet:
    • Pages go from newest to oldest
    • Page content varies over time
    • Page numbers are for relative
    navigation only

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  25. Solution:
    • Number pages from first to last
    • Newest content stays left (because
    we read ltr)
    • We use older and newer instead of
    forward and back

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  26. 3 2 1
    new old

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  27. 4 3 2 1
    new old

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  28. 4 3 2 1
    new old
    5

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  29. Now:
    • Page numbers are deterministic
    • Content is stable and linkable
    • Page numbers actually have
    inherent meaning
    • The whole thing actually makes
    sense
    • Dead easy to implement

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  30. New SoundCloud:
    • Endless scrolling

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  31. Pagination: still relevant?
    • endless scrolling is everywhere
    • lots of collections change all the
    time anyway
    • no-one minded when pagination
    was broken
    • is a book really the best basis for
    an interaction pattern for
    collections of items?

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  32. Pagination: still relevant?
    • content has changed
    • behaviours and expectations have
    also changed
    • finding things is different: less
    browsing, more searching, filtering,
    tags, recommendations etc.

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  33. But pagination still is useful:
    • Are streams really applicable to
    everything? Naw.
    • Some collections are meant to be
    stable and long-lasting
    • Archivability is still useful there

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  34. So if you‘re going to have
    page numbers, you might as well
    make them consistent and useful.

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  35. Thanks!
    Alex Feyerke
    @espylaub
    up.front June 2012

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