I have this site where you have thumbnails in left and right columns. Clicking on a thumbnail will load the main image in the center.

There are two ways I can do this:

  1. Use ajax to load the main image in the center

  2. Make thumbnails into anchor tags, clicking it will basically load a new page with a different main image in center

I like method 1 because it is fast, offers better user experience. But I like method 2 because search engines will be able to map the entire site by following the links.

A problem with method 2 is that after the new page loads, the left and right columns don't remember their scroll position, and I have to use javascript to restore that.

Can I have a UI design that provides a fast user experience, and still have all the main images crawlable? May be I need a site map. What is the best design for this?

  • 1
    "Can I use method 1 and still have all the main images crawlable?" this is an implementation question that belongs in Stack Overflow. – dnbrv Feb 13 '15 at 18:41
  • I modified the question. Also I disagree that this is am implementation question. I am looking for design ideas that would allow a smooth UI experience while not compromising a search engine's ability to crawl the pages. – rosewater Feb 16 '15 at 19:22

I think I will go with the links (method 2) instead of ajax, but combined with this approach.

So instead of scrollbars in the left and right columns, I can paginate those panes with the thumbnails. This way I do not have to worry about positioning scrollbars when a new page loads. When the page loads, I can just set the correct page that the thumbnail is in.

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