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The typical design for a paging panels (of search engines and the like) looks like this:

Previous 11 12 [13] 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 Next

But if you read that you would expect (if not educated by search engines) that "Next" will lead to the successor of page "20" and not of "13". If we need "Previous" and "Next" at all, wouldn't it be better to place it, where their meaning is obvious?

 11 12 Previous [13] Next 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 

or maybe

 11 12 < [13] > 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

The question is: is "Previous" and "Next" really useful and if so where to place it?

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2 Answers 2

I see where you're coming from but would argue that the existing design pattern still makes more sense:

  • It's established; who has not seen it?
  • Previous/Next are the most important elements; aside from some cases (e.g. results sorted alphabetically) it makes little sense to jump to some page number
  • Being the most important elements they should be placed at the edge of the element so they're easy to find and click on
  • One goal of the existing pattern is to keep Previous/Next in the same position. You can't achieve this with what you suggested.

Also see http://developer.yahoo.com/ypatterns/navigation/pagination/search.html

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You may find the design pattern I suggested on User Interface helpful.

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