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table page navigation

 
 
Roderik
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      11-12-2004
I am developing a DBMS. When requesting a table from the database the
system shows you a table with data of the first n (for example 10)
records. The number of records may vary, can be 2, 20 or maybe 20000.

How can I give the user an easy way to navigate to the records he wants
to see?
Often you see, below or on top of the table, a NEXT and PREVIOUS link to
show 10 records before or after the current shown records. But when
having a large number of records this might not be user friendly.
Sometimes you see links to every page (set of ten records in a table)
that is available in the table. But with large tables this might give
hundreds of links. Another possibility is to ask the page number through
a form. Sometimes you use the links but skip some (links to first,
middle, last). Maybe I should make a slider kind of thing (image map).

Please give me your opinion on what you think that might be a nice way
to navigate through a table.

thanks in advance,

Roderik
 
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Jukka K. Korpela
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      11-12-2004
Roderik <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

> I am developing a DBMS. When requesting a table from the database the
> system shows you a table with data of the first n (for example 10)
> records. The number of records may vary, can be 2, 20 or maybe 20000.
>
> How can I give the user an easy way to navigate to the records he
> wants to see?


An interesting question. Search engines have had to solve this some way
or another - usually not in a very good way. I have written some notes on
the issue especially from the accessibility point of view, particularly
as regards to using non-visual browsing:
http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/forms/qdfa.html
What I propose there is that a results page should have
1. a heading
2. info on the total number of hits
3. a segment of the hit list (n hits)
4. a "next" link
And if you wish to put there links to other results pages (1st, 2nd etc.
page of hits, as Google does), they should be _after_ those parts.
It's the "next" link that is the key navigation here. Either the user
proceeds using it, or gets disinterested and goes elsewhere, or makes
another search.

But this more or less postulates that the hits are supposed to be more or
less in an order of relevance

> Sometimes you see links to every page (set of ten records
> in a table) that is available in the table. But with large tables
> this might give hundreds of links.


Indeed. And unless the results are organized in a particular way known to
the users, there's little reason why he should pick up any particular
number from a list of result page numbers. Why would he jump to page 42?
_If_ there is a reason to expect that such jumping would make sense, I
would include a form with an input field where the number can be typed.
It's faster to type 42 and hit Enter than to find "42" in the list
1, 2, 3, ... - especially if you need to use the keyboard for navigation
or you are using a speech browser where you need to listen to the first
41 numbers before you can tell the browser follow the link you want.

--
Yucca, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/
Pages about Web authoring: http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/www.html


 
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