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If the user is on a specific page and then changes Results Per Page, what page should the user be taken to?

This question came up while discussing the following scenario:

"If the user was on the last page and changing Results Per Page resulted in fewer pages, the last page is different."

Is it okay to reset the Current Page to Page 1?

1 Answer 1

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Search results page numbers are usually (not always) meaningless. What's meaningful are the results that the user sees, so that should be the anchor. After recalculation the user should end up on the page that displays the result that she was looking at when she initiated the recalculation.

In terms of use cases, there are two classic situations where the user changes the number of results per page. The most frequent one is when they realize that they will have to go through many pages at the current rate, and they wish to display more results to make the search more efficient. The second one is where the number of results creates a performance problem and they want to see less results on the page.

In both cases they are in the middle of going through the results, where they reached a specific point. After the change they need to be able to easily pick up from where they left, so it's important to give them that anchor.

Since you can't really know for certain which result the user was looking at, you will often have to guess where to take them after the change, especially when the change is to reduce page size. I think that going by the top result on the page is the safe choice.

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  • A very logical and thought out answer. Thanks! Unfortunately, although I agree with this, it complicates my Paging/Filtering/Ordering logic slightly... Is returning the user to a page with the same results (e.g. first result) an accepted standard?
    – Arkiliknam
    Dec 2, 2015 at 14:10
  • Actually, wasn't complicated at all. The UI itself always knows what the user is and was looking at, so its easy to let the UI figure out which page will keep you looking at the same item.
    – Arkiliknam
    Dec 2, 2015 at 15:41

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