Do You Know What Pagination Is?

Sure you do. Have you ever gone to a website and noticed those little arrows, or those numbers that link to additional pages of content? Of course you have.

That’s called pagination. This is how web developers can magically add a whole bunch of information to a website without having that on-going, never ending, pain-in-the-neck scrolling nuisance. It’s a great piece of technology to use for quite a few reasons.

For example. Maybe you have a website that users can search for things on. Be it articles or products, you don’t want your users to have to scroll through a bazillion search results for a million years. For one, that can take forever to load, depending on your users internet speed and the result set, and two, it’s so easy for the user to lose their place in line which leaves them scrolling up and down, up and down, up and down, and up and down only to end up reading the same listings multiple times creating a bad user experience and them missing half of your content (if not more). To avoid this disaster from happening, we must look at the tools that are available to us to ensure a good user experience. In this case, say you had 140 results in your set. Instead of displaying them all at once, you cut them up into pages with 10 results per page. This will ultimately lead your users to a nice and easy way to view your results/content, and create that illusion of your site being larger than the data might suggest. If you feed the seagulls popcorn, they will eat it.

What Does Pagination Do?

Pagination does a lot more than just split up a websites content. It can also add style to your website and create the illusion of depth. Yes, depth. We’ve tested this one over and over again. The illusion of depth on a website entices the users to find out what’s behind door number two more often than a site with basic navigation. Don’t get us wrong, basic navigation is the core spot that 100% of web users are familiar with in terms of navigating a website, but imagine the value in adding that same familiar feeling all over your website. Users will have all kinds of things to click on with responses (web 2.0).

How to Add Depth To Your Website

There are many different ways to create this depth illusion. Again, it could be splitting up search results into numbered pages, or offering a promotion on your site with arrows, or a slider to additional offers. What we’re trying to do here is create the illusion that there is still stuff to see. Even if it’s only one more thing, it’s still one thing they may not have seen if you didn’t supply the means to get to them there.

The point is to create the illusions that the users actually want. They want to come to a website that has more to offer than meets the eye. If a user comes to your site and they only see a main navigation menu with your power pages, they may miss out on all those special offers, or high profit products that you sell. Give them what they want. They want to think that they are doing business with a reputable outfit, and let’s face it, these days; the bigger you are (or appear), the more people will trust you.

Check out this tiny example.

tpilNow what these folks did was offer additional navigation options to the user without even telling them where they are going. They are basically telling them, “Hey, check out some random products that you didn’t even know you were going to see“. Displaying these graphic navigation peices offered the user a visual representation of what they think they are going to be viewing when they click on it. It may be something they are in the market for, but didn’t know you offered. Next, they offer two arrows, one on each side of the product images. This tells the user that this isn’t all they have. “Click on me“, says the little arrow, “and I’ll show you more“. Who doesn’t want more? Everybody wants more. This is just one excellent example of how you can give your users more information about what your site offers ensuring both a good user experience and them viewing more of your content.

chsHere is another great example that adds new navigation to a site. Look what they did here. They added calls to action taking this little section of a website and make it even more appealing. Short, to the point header titles. This is what I am….BAM! Click on me and this is what you’ll see. BAM!  They also offer these beautiful, recognizable plus signs (+) to the end of the CTA to ensure the user knows they can click on it. BAM! But what really does happen when I click on it? You’ll have to take that journey to find out.

It’s amazing the little things that can be done to help your users navigate your website. Hyperlinks have always been a great resource, but those days are soon coming to an end. Users want to see visual aids like these toggles, or the arrows in the examples above. They want to see a visual guide to your website. With today’s web users starting to use their mobile devices more than their desktop, and even laptop computers, it’s important to think about how you’re going to display your most important content to them. It’s not the content you need to mask, it’s the method of getting them there. Unfortunately, not everyone has embraced the power of mobile, or responsive web design, so if you want to stay ahead of the game, and your competition, invest in this new method of CSS3 styling and image representation. Sorry, didn’t mean to get off subject but we did just come up with a new blog post idea. :-)

The main thing to take away from this article is always make sure you’re giving the user what they want. Don’t give them what you think they want. There are enough studies and enough analytical data out there that there’s no more guess work involved. We know how people navigate the internet.

Also, remember, people are stubborn about the way they navigation the interwebs, and if they find your site annoying or boring, they’ll go somewhere else. Take a look at your site and just imagine the new ways you can invite users to other sections of your website. We’re sure you can find multiple ways, and if you can’t find them, find an expert who can. They are there!