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I have a Single Page App that runs in full screen without back/home/forward buttons and no URL bar. All navigation is done in a left column that updates a content area on the right. On one part of the page, I have a search field where the user can search for data. The results may contain an evil pager showing 10 rows at a time.

I have a request from my users to implement "back/forward" functionality between the searches. They suggested a back, home and forward button to be able to navigate between searches and a home button to perform a search with the default parameters.

Button navigation image

I suggested renaming to previous/reset/next but the rest of the team did not like it. I also suggested a history list with links instead but this was also voted down by the dev and requirements team. I do not wish to add a concept of back/forward to my web page since it conflicts with the traditional back/forward pattern which is hidden at the moment but might come back one day. I also think the list gives the user more control. They still want their buttons though.

List navigation image

What solution for navigating between search results would you suggest?

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Yes, from end user point of view, back/home/forward means the browser navigation functionality. In an full page App, we should avoid those navigation naming that are confusing for user.

You could suggest something like Previous | Reset | Next as the options. These will work as their name and will look like the buttons that client asked for.

convince them to rename those buttons to avoid ambiguities from End User and future enhancements.

  • Thanks, nice answer. I had suggested that but it was voted down by the dev team and requirements team. Instead they want to use back/home/forward buttons that do not look the same as in the browser. I updated the answer to reflect this as well. – span Jun 11 '15 at 6:23
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Just to clarify does the app run in a browser? If it runs in a browser the back/forward is particularly confusing, although if it's not in the browser it's not as big a factor (although still a bit weird given how used people are to browser behaviour!)

Agree with the user above that renaming is the easiest way to deal with it, although I'd have a discussion about why you're against those labels and potentially make them a little less ambiguous - for example 'RESET' doesn't really explain what the button does to a new user. (E.g. does reset mean do the last search again?)

Alternatively there could be potentially an extra history/back button added, some way that they can click and see previous searches in a list - that way it doesn't clutter the interface, but offers the option that they are requesting (back) AND your idea of a list.

For an example of what I mean, think the browser - it has a back button, but if you click and hold on it, you get a list of previous pages. See my example image!

Screenshot annotation

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