Let's say you have a very standard pagination setup.

< Previous Page 1 2 3 ... 9 Next Page >

On page 1 would you display the Previous Page button? And along the same lines, would you display the "Next Page" button on the last page?

If you keep them displayed when non functional, would you grey out?

enter image description here

3 Answers 3


People who are flicking through navigation like that are expecting to click in the same place all the time. The simple fact is that most users don't look when they are clicking "next" on each page / screen.

If you start removing items from your navigation because they don't apply for that particular page, the other navigation links will move relative to where they were before. This could cause the user to click on the wrong thing, or be suddenly not clicking on anything. This can be a jarring experience.

I would say that keeping the positions of all links the same and disabling / greying out the ones that aren't relevent will give the best user experience.

  • 1
    The positioning of all the elements would stay the same, regardless of whether or not the previous or next was there. I agree you shouldn't have things moving. But this is easily solved with good coding.
    – AdamUX
    Commented Jun 27, 2014 at 14:57
  • Many of the people who implement pagination on the web will use text with anchor tags in their pagination, rather than large buttons like your updated screenshot. In this case removing things will make links move around.
    – Franchesca
    Commented Jun 27, 2014 at 15:17

This is really just a special case of handling disabled buttons. Some people advocate hiding them completely, but showing them in a disabled state seems to be a more popular approach. The upside of showing the disabled button is that people will know where it is when they do need it. The downside is that people might not realize it is disabled the first time they see your interface. So, if you do show it, make sure that it is clearly and unambiguously "greyed out."

  • I'm wondering if the upside, showing a user where it will be, might be lost in this context since the "Previous Page" button would always be on the left, and the "Next Page" would always be on the right. There doesn't seem to be any user teaching upsides. Normally I disable.
    – AdamUX
    Commented Jun 27, 2014 at 14:54
  • Yes, in this case hiding the previous/next buttons is less of a concern because they are part of a larger pagination control and people will expect them to show up on the other pages. Commented Jun 27, 2014 at 15:10
  • Good point about either remove or make unambiguously disabled
    – Runnick
    Commented Mar 7, 2018 at 17:21

My suggestion is - don't show the first button on the first page and the last button on the last page. If you are really concerned about the user experience, I would suggest that you come up with a creative solution.

On the first page, on the left hand side of the 2 link, don't add the 1 button either you can add something like 'check out more' and after the n - 1 link when you are in the last page you can add 'check the new ones'. Hope you get the idea. This one might look crazy and I myself would resort to not showing the buttons and keep things simple.

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