In many UIs, there is a list of items that each have a time stamp, for example a list of news stories or e-mails. When there are many items or only one item is displayed at a time, it could be a multi-page list. In these lists, the button labeled "previous" often shows the item(s) that were published just a bit later in time than what's currently being viewed, and the "next" button shows item(s) earlier in time than what's currently being viewed. The
> buttons go opposite the "forward in time / backward in time" direction they would with a timeline metaphor, which might accompany terms like "previous" and "next."
If this were just on a small site somewhere, I would chalk it up to what seems to me to be counterintuitive labeling / bad UX design, but I see it on enough big sites that make me wonder...is this really considered a best practice? If so, why?
eBay messages (individual message view):