Let me give you example of what I mean by a long list of pages: List of Pages

So when you click 19 it has to determine how many new pages to show and how many old pages not to show.

For example: List 2

How many new pages should you should and how many old pages should you not show?

5 Answers 5


Here's the official answer from the Yahoo Developer Network - Design Pattern Library on Search Pagination:

When on any page after 6 (7 and onward), the page links should start at the current page minus 5. For example, when on page 7, the first page will be 2 (7 - 5 = 2) and the last page will be 11 (still shows 10 pages.)


I suppose it depends on how you think your users will want to interact with your content.

For example, when paging through blog archives, I think a simple older/newer model works, especially when several blog entries are shown on one page (and a more comprehensive archive exists, such as posts by month/category/whatever).

With things like forums, I tend to agree with the "1 ... 7 8 9 ... 30" model. I don't think the number of pages in the "center" of the page numbers matters, so long as it's not too excessive. It could be lower if you don't expect that many pages to exist, or longer if you expect a huge amount of pages (i.e. google, as per the example in your question).

There are a number of other models that can work depending on what you're paginating (for example, "prev, next, go to page:") but like many things, it depends. There's no one universally correct answer.

But, it's not that big a deal after all. If you screw up your pagination model, I'm sure there won't be a significant amount of damage as long as it's somewhat usable.

  • It's especially nice to see that first page/last page option too. It's good to know how many pages in you are. It can be possible to figure out how to get to a specific page by looking at the URL, but that doesn't tell you how many pages there are. Commented Aug 16, 2010 at 21:18

Because we can answer our own questions: from what I have noticed, most websites loose show two new pages and loose two old pages.

For example:

Initial State

Then when I hit 5 (which is the end of the list):

State Two


I find vBulletin forum pagination the most useful. If you are at a page #1000 of 5000 it would show:

<<First <Previous ... 500 900 950 990 998 999 1000 1001 1002 1010 1050 1100 1500 2000 ... Next> Last>>

Having 10, 50, 100, 500 steps is pretty convenient and I usually use them a lot.


The ability to jump to a "page number" is generally only useful in cases where material that is on e.g. the fifth page at some particular time will likely remain there for awhile. Otherwise, being able to show the "next" and "previous" page full of stuff is helpful, but any navigation beyond that should be based upon whatever criterion is used to sort the items in the list. If there are twenty pages of authors sorted by name, have links for letters or ranges thereof; if the user clicks on a letter with more than a oage worth of entries, show names from the beginning of that letter, but add links with ranges of names.

Likewise if items are sorted chronologically, have links for years and months, and subdivide by hours or minutes if necessary.

If 5,000 pages worth of items are sorted chronologically, being able to jump to specific pages might allow someone who wants an item for a particular date to home in on it without having to click "next" 2000 times, but if what the user wants is to find a particular date, it would be better to let the user specify the date than require him to guess a page, see what's there, refine his guess, etc.

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