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As in this research mentions, you should not break the back button (and Nielsen said it as well).

My question is in regard to 2 separate edge cases:

From the homepage you search on an e-commerce site for 'blue shoes'.

  1. You change the view from list to grid view and then click the browser back button.
  2. You change the listings from 24 to 48 per page and then click the browser back button.

What would the user expect when he presses the back button in each of these cases -> a reset in view (ie. bring you from the selected grid view back to list view, still on the same page) or back to the previous page (ie. homepage)?

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If I were your user, my expectation is backing to the place which I previously come from, so refer to your user case, here is my answer

You change the view from list to grid view and then click the browser back button.

Back to the grid view.

You change the listings from 24 to 48 per page and then click the browser back button.

Back to the 24 per page.

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You can not expect a mango tree to give you a coconut. Of course that almost every user will expect to return to the previous page instead of any other behavior just simply because that's the normal behavior of the browser's back button. Now, that said, you can modify the back button to fit your needs but you have to consider of it is absolutely necessary because you are breaking the normal journey of the user and you must have a real good reason for doing that.

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  • Please check the first link in the question. The idea is not about whether it is useful to change the browser back button, but what is the expected behavior from the user when he presses the back button in the 2 cases mentioned above.
    – remeo
    Aug 1 at 17:42
  • If I'm not mistaken your question is this Should the back button in each case reset the change in view, or bring you back to the homepage? and it was what I answered. What you say now, what is the expected behavior from the user when he presses the back button in the 2 cases mentioned above? is something else. In this case the expected behaviour of a standard user is trying to return to tthe page where he/she was before. If you need a clearer answer, please provide then a clearer question.
    – SIMBIOSIS
    Aug 1 at 18:01
  • Fair point, clarified the question.
    – remeo
    Aug 2 at 6:34
  • Updated answer too.
    – SIMBIOSIS
    Aug 2 at 10:25
  • The question is - what is the expected behavior, or more precise - what does the user see as back to the previous page? Is back to the 'page' where it had 24 instead of 48 items, or is it back to the homepage.
    – remeo
    Aug 3 at 13:26
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You change the view from list to grid view and then click the browser back button.

If the list/ grid toggle action is persistent - say, it remains in the title bar - then the user is more likely to expect the back button to return then to the homepage. Otherwise, they are likely to expect the other view.

Title bar with view list icon

You change the listings from 24 to 48 per page and then click the browser back button.

Because changing the # of items is the list is similar to scrolling for more results, I believe that users will expect a back button to return them to the homepage.

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