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I've looked through all the results on this site that have to do with pagination, but they all seem to have to do with pages/results that have static information, so I'm not sure whether pagination is even appropriate for what I'm doing.

I'm working on a type of responsive CRM system, and what I need help with is this ..

The page in question is supposed to support three primary actions for my users: 1. Filter a 'calling list' (they call people that for example signed up for an event but never showed), 2. Help them quickly change the status of the people on their guest list, or write a note as they go, and 3. Allow them to send a bulk mail/SMS to people with a certain status

The default list of people is set to 'all' and sorted by the date they came into the system (registration via webb or in the CRM by the sales person).

The issue is that if the user in question lives/works in the city, they can end up having up to a hundred or so people on their guest list, compared to people in the country, that might have a few people - and I need to cater for both these scenarios.

There will be content above and below the 'working area', so I don't want to display all the results immediately in case this content below goes unnoticed, but feel like it might affect their 'flow' if they need to click 'next' all the time (seeing as it is already quite a manual and time-consuming task).

I would like to give them the option to see everything at once, but I'm not sure if a combination of pagination and 'show all' is good/bad practice. Hope I've explained this well enough ..

What are your suggestions?

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I think that in your case, a "Show All" link combined with a "display N results" setup would be the most appropriate solution for your problem, unless your research shows really huge lists occurs on a frequent basis. In that case, it could be a good idea to limit results in clusters, like 20 per page.

Either way, there's some interesting insight by Nielsen on pagination options that relates to your problem at hand. Specifically this part:

View All Items

Many users like to see all options on a single page, rather than clicking from page to page looking at products. In user testing, we’ve often found a View All option to be helpful to some users. More important, the View All option didn’t bother users who didn’t use it; when it wasn’t offered, however, some users complained.

View All is particularly important for lists that cannot be sorted well, as well as for items that are more a question of individual taste than of specific attributes. In domains such as fashion, art, flowers, and even chocolates, users might well prefer to scan many items than to be limited to a few per page.

As useful as View All is, however, there should be an upper limit to the number of items displayed. Large databases can easily generate thousands—even millions—of hits for certain queries, and it doesn’t make sense to produce listings that stretch that long.

Typically, this upper limit should be around 100 items, though it can be more or less depending on how easy it is for users to scan items and how much a long page impacts the response time.

View All is usually better than the annoying infinitely scrolling web pages that keep loading new stuff when you approach the bottom, because these pages don't give users a sense of closure or power over the navigation. For the same reasons, pagination is usually better than infinite scrolling if there are too many items to display on a reasonably long page.

Finally, I'd consider doing some testing with your target groups, at least some hallway testing to see how users interact with your layout

  • Thanks so much for your response and sorry for the late reply. The Nielson reference was great. I will most definitely be testing! – you_sir_experience Jul 23 '15 at 8:04
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Pagination is "necessary" when there are multiple (and potentially conflicting) goals of a specific web page. So, for the CRM example, you might have a user page where the goal is to edit/update the user info. But you wouldn't have a password change option there because it has an additional "are you sure" and security requirement. You wouldn't have in-depth details for specific 'transactions' between the user and system, though you would link to those specific communications.

We're working on a CRM now and have a basic one in place, and our customers aren't tech savvy. So every page follows the one-goal rule. Barring any serious user error opportunities, like items should be on the same page and overflow can be a scroll function.

  • Thanks so much for your response and sorry for the late reply. You're probably right about trying to achieve too much on the same page - bad habit of mine as a result of my users complaining that they don't want to be sent to new windows all the time and they don't like scroll .. which puts me in a bit of a bind considering the amount of tasks that they have to do in the system. In any case, I'm taking your advice onboard and aiming for a 1-goal page. :) – you_sir_experience Jul 23 '15 at 8:11
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Pagination is important when you have that many number of guests in your list. Currently you are feeling that it'd be a mismatch because of the way your UI is designed.

I have worked on a similar requirement. We had to take many actions and edit a record on the fly.

I'd recommend a view similar to grid with sorting and column filters on it. This way you can accommodate more data on the screen. This way the look of your page would be more similar to traditional paginated grids, that fits with user's mental model, so it's good. On click of a record, I'd slide it open to make changes in that record. I'd probably want to couple that with keyboard shortcuts for selecting next previous records, jump to start and end of list and move between pages.

I wish I could give you a quick mockup, but I'm writing this on a mobile device. I'd update this answer later if you need me to.

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    Thanks so much for your response and sorry for the late reply. I've had a look into traditional grids (mental model being a good rationale) but I'm not sure I can make the experience of it very good in smaller screen sizes. I like your idea of keyboard shortcuts - definitely need to implement that! – you_sir_experience Jul 23 '15 at 8:07
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Some suggestions to put to the test:

Concentrate on the experience / task the user is trying to perform.

For example they may only care about the total number of rows, the name, contacted status and maybe a snippet of a notes to start with.

In which case make it look more like a list of simple clean data. A simple "more" button may be the best experience to get more rows.

A simple edit box at the top of list is usually enough for a good filter experience (you don't even need to label it if your results look obviously like a list). You might be able to do away with sort if there is a natural priority and filter is simple and works well.

An accordion (click on row, editable elements expand underneath the row, pushing down the next row) can be a good device to quickly get to more functionality without having a negative effect on the coherence of the list.

Try it out on your users and observe.

  • Thanks so much for your response and sorry for the late reply. I'm a big fan of progressive disclosure as well - and clean lists are way more aesthetically pleasing than chunks of editable data. Using a simple 'more' button would actually fit in with the rest of the pages, as we've used that a lot, so that could be a go-er. Shall put it to the test ~ – you_sir_experience Jul 23 '15 at 8:17
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    There are some interesting thoughts in this article about pagination. uxmovement.com/navigation/avoid-the-pains-of-pagination – Jonny Jul 23 '15 at 9:15
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Go for Pagination with the Powerful Filter and Sort

Pagination play a key role in performance of the app when there are 100s of records. If you don't use pagination your UI becomes so heavy.

When user wants to get a record from 100s of records Filter is the way to go. Here you need to be smart to provide best filter options for the user.

Sorting also helps in finding the extremes. Putting all these together you can a better user experience.

Most of the users prefer scrolling over pagination, you can also consider infinite scrolling screen as an option. Even in this case make your Filters and Sorting powerful.

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