I'm building a dashboard that allows people to view messages they received via SMS and that could easily be thousands of messages per hour for radio stations, for instance. Shall I use pagination( which has the disadvantage that new update can't be displayed) or infinite scrolling( which is hard to jump around)?

For example,

  1. A radio station gives ask a question for a prize and want to announce the winner based on the messages they receive
  2. A TV show want a feed back from users
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    It depends on the users' task and context of use. Please, give more description. – Alexey Kolchenko Oct 16 '13 at 14:00
  • Would you consider allowing both a paginated mode and a scrolling mode, for different users in different contexts? – Matt Obee Oct 16 '13 at 14:29
  • @AlexeyKolchenko I made some additions. Please let me know if you want me to clarify more. – Alex Oct 16 '13 at 14:31
  • So is real-time usage assumed? I mean time limits of a program/show duration. – Alexey Kolchenko Oct 16 '13 at 16:00
  • @AlexeyKolchenko people keep on sending messages. But the guys may wish to stay online or to check periodically – Alex Oct 17 '13 at 12:32

I think of something like this:
enter image description here

Some points are:

  1. New messages appears on the top to support top-down reading style. Old messages are shifted down.
  2. Due to asynchronious message stream, there could be several new messages at once. To distinct visually the new messages the divider is used.
  3. The capasity of online tab is two screens. Older messages are dissapeared. In online mode the new messages are more important and there is no time to search for some old messages.
  4. Messages from Online tab could be picked and placed to separate list. The picked messages are the most interesting or the candidates for a prize.
  5. Archive tab contains all the messages. This tab suppose more detailed reading and contains search and/or filtering tools.

infinite scrolling all the way. Pagination requires more user interaction too, which is bad in your example of a radio station. The DJ wants to be doing whatever DJs do and just glancing at his SMS screen. Don't make me think.

If you want ideas to for navigating infinite scrolling look at existing apps designed for thousands of messages such as facebook, twitter, some email clients e.g. Outlook or Stack Exchange's chat system. People actually don't find it too hard scrolling between things, particularly very short items like SMS. You can give options for starring favourites, opening individual items in popup/new window, searching etc.

There's a bit of discrepancy in your question - if you're planning for someone to actually read thousands of messages per hour, that's a full time job, so (a) they're not going to have much time for jumping around and (b) they need a fullscreen application not a dashboard view.

  • I would go even further and say that reading and process 1000 msg/h is almost impossible for one person ;-) – Lovis Oct 16 '13 at 14:18
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    Perhaps users can't read that many, but skimming 1000 msg/h can be done very efficiently. e.g. if it's "text us the name of the song the next time we play Paul McCartney and you win free crap!" then they can easily skim to look for "Helter Skelter" (and all misspellings of it) for a few minutes when they play that song. – jlarson Oct 16 '13 at 15:48
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    @jlarson, thats true, but if thats the case, i'd prefer search and Filter functionality – Lovis Oct 16 '13 at 19:16
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    @L.Mller - search might miss "valid" misspellings or alternative names. sometimes computers can't beat humans... at least that's still the case in 2013. – jlarson Oct 16 '13 at 19:49

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