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We write business applications that may include grids. The grids can be use to show a lot of items such as all customer orders in the system or a shorter list say a list of tasks that a team has to complete. Usually the grids have say 7-8 columns.

Generally we add paging to the grid so that it shows the first 20 and the user can move to the next 20 etc. The grids also have sorting added to the columns. I am not sure the paging always makes sense which is what this question is about.

If we take the example where there are maybe 50 items in a grid it seems to me to make more sense to show the everything so if the user sorts by a column they can see the groups of records without paging. For example sorting a list of incidents connected to school so all the high priority incidents are together.

As this is a business application often the user is not searching for an individual record but curating a list for further action. In the event of a user trying to return a very large list of results via a search\filtering we would probably limit the results to the top 200 anyway (as if they are returning more than that they should be using the reporting tool instead). For instance they may want a list of tasks assigned to their team that are high priority and late. Generally we add filters to allow the user to extract the most common queries. In this scenario I can see how paging is perhaps helpful as there may still be 100-200 records returned which may be a too much to list on a single screen.

Also I would have thought on mobile devices not have paging and showing everything or having some sort of auto load as the user scrolls down the list would be more helpful.

Is there any best practice around using paging in grids in business application?

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  • Hi jake, what is your specific problem with the paging? You will get more on-point answers if you can tell a clear problem definition. You could think about changing to endless scrolling if you don't like pagination.
    – Nash
    Dec 8 '20 at 20:05
  • Hi Nash I dont really have a specific problem with paging. I suppose it just occurred to me "What is the point in paging?" - why not just show everything - surely the paging is making it more difficult to use. However a lot of\every business applications I would see would use paging but why. Perhaps it helps limit the amount of data downloaded to a screen but is this really an issue these days. I suppose I am asking are there any best practices or another UX reasons I have not thought of. If there is no best practice and it is case by case or design preference thats fine.
    – jake
    Dec 8 '20 at 21:24
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The following blog post lists a lot of the pros and cons between pagination and infinite scrolling. The author summarizes that infinite scrolling is only effective in a few instances and "best suited for sites and apps that are large streams of user-generated content".

If you look at the Pros/Cons you will realize that the ones that are most important (*) to business applications go in favor of pagination. That's why it is used there primarily.

Infinite scrolling

Pros:

  • User Engagement and Content Discovery
  • Scrolling is Better Than Clicking
  • Scrolling is Good For Mobile Devices

Cons:

  • Page Performance and Device Resources (*)
  • Item Search and Location (*)
  • Irrelevant Scroll Bar
  • Lack of a Footer

Pagination

Pros:

  • Good Conversion
  • Sense of Control (*)
  • Item Location (*)

Cons:

  • Extra Actions
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  • Thanks Nash I can see the idea of the paginator gives a sense of where something is in a list. I suppose we have the issue that in some lists people are not trying to find a record but curate a shorter list or sort to understand the items in it - in this situation they are almost using it like excel (I dont think adding paginators to excel would help!). We will experiment with a few designs and maybe look at grids with higher numbers of page results. Thanks for taking the time to think about this.
    – jake
    Dec 9 '20 at 21:35

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