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I have a functionality which loads several records that are paginated and can be sorted. What would be the best way to approach the sorting once the user is located beyond page 1? I find myself thinking that there are two possible ways to keep the user experience consistent:

  • If an user clicks on sorting, and he is located on page 3, the records are sorted but he continues to be in page 3.
  • If an user clicks on sorting, the records are sorted but he is taken to page 1.
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4 Answers

up vote 1 down vote accepted

First of all, the best practice would be to use AJAX resorting of elements, because you don't want to reload the whole page and break the flow in user's navigation. That being said, the sorting should be applied without resetting to page 1, that is, the user should stay on the same page, but you should scroll his view to the top. Also, use AJAX resorting and rescrolling if possible, because it would dramatically increase user experience.

Here is a generic example of what it could look like.

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Thanks @Anderson, do you have by any chance any links where the pagination is being implemented the way you suggest? –  Osvaldo M. Nov 5 '12 at 17:16
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@OsvaldoM. Here is a generic example of what it could look like. –  Anderson Nov 5 '12 at 18:05
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The purpose of sorting is to help user to find some thing. In this case if you keep the user on the page #3, it will not help the user to search item. And jump to page #1, may help user to find from the first item.

So suggest jump to page #1 after user sort the list.

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ux's answer is ideal, but if rows cannot be selected it is better to move to page 1.

When a user is browsing a table and they sort it, they are starting their browsing from scratch. So it makes sense to start them at the beginning. If you keep them on the same page then the user is essentially starting from an arbitrary position in the results. How could they have any expectation of where in the results they will end up?

Somewhat related: Why not default a user's view to the middle of a sorted list?

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Here is another option. It assumes
- the records are displayed in some sort of table
- there are always one or more records selected when the table has focus
- sorting the table does not affect the selected state of a record

Sorting the records should keep the selected record(s) in view. When one record is selected, that record remains in view regardless of the sort order. When more than one record is selected, you will need to decide which record remains in view because the new sort may spread the selected records across multiple pages.

This is a common interaction in software for exploratory data analysis.

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+1 You can automatically select the first record on the page until the user overrides it. –  Brian Ortiz Sep 16 '13 at 2:13
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