2

I'm looking for usability studies that show the efficacy of Pagination vs Load More specifically for a table/list of data in a business/enterprise application, like a Software as a service (SAAS) app.

I've seen subjective opinions from designers about how pagination is better for business apps because "the user is looking for a specific record", but I still can't reconcile how a user would use pagination to locate a desired item rather than use filtering to hone in on the desired result.

1 Answer 1

1

"pagination is good for business" is a shorthand for various otherwise unconnected problems.

Performance

Business computers tend to be low-end machines and tend to be outdated to no end. Which means that for very long pages with complex DOMs, things become very laggy very quickly. Pagination offers a very easy-to-understand solution to this ("just show 10/25/50/100 entries at a time"), though it is possible to dynamically load and unload in an endless-scrolling situation as well.

Reaching the middle

When you have 1000 entries and want to get to #543, with pagination you can make some reasonable predictions on which page you want to open to get to it fairly quickly, while with endless scrolling you'd need to start at either end and scroll your way to the middle. Again, there are ways around that such as filtering and timelines (see below), but pagination is the obvious solution.

example of a timeline

Continuing where you left off

Assuming a somewhat limited activity, when you close a paginated list on page 32 on Friday evening and return to it Monday morning, you'll likely be able to find back into the list fairly quickly. For an endlessly scrolling list, you'd need to remember where you left off and where it is in the timeline (if you have one). And again, there are ways around this by providing a "continue where you left off" jump button.

When does it end?

While not strictly necessary, pagination generally tells you how far you are in (eg page 32/45), while endless scrolling happily gives you another page worth of stuff until it finally runs out. When doing tasks, having an idea of progress is typically helpful. And again, a timeline solves this problem for infinite scrolling, too.

Scripting

Infinite scrolling requires JS to work in the browser, pagination can be done fully server-side. This can be relevant in some (hopefully: A very small and dying out portion of) businesses.


This pattern continues on for a while: Pagination solves certain problems over just showing you a massive table all at once, and its solution just happens to bring some other benefit along the way for free. Endless scrolling on the other hand requires you to be more clever and solve some of these problems yourself.

As for scientific discussion of this:

The results were mixed in nature, where no single scrolling method stood out as being the most usable

The [..] questions were then asked in relation to goal-driven tasks. For questions one (ease and simplicity) and two (responsiveness) the normal scrolling method was ranked highest. For question three (pleasantness) the infinite load more scrolling method was ranked highest. For question four (confidence in use) the infinite pagination scrolling method was ranked highest. For question five (recommendation) participants ranked the infinite load more scrolling method highest.

-- https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v25i3.10309

This thesis shows that infinite-scroll can be valuable on a goal-driven site. The infinite-scroll and the paginated version performed similarly in this study. The only area where differences were seen between these two were the amount of articles loaded per session. The general recommendation is to use infinite-scroll, and implement support to retrieve the user's position when returning to the feed.

-- http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-131462

(NB: Be mindful of the exact implementation of endless scrolling when comparing results from different studies)

Overall, it's not super important which version you use. I'd say that practically speaking, it's a question of vision and resources:

  • Do you have enough dev power to get a well-thought-through endless scrolling thing going and want to be perceived more modern than yet-another-paginated-database-view? Do endless scrolling.
  • Are you tight on resources and just need to get a product out? Do pagination for the time being.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.