Do we still need pagination in blogs?

Back in the day

Pagination was basically used to help loading times on the web. When articles would be written and displayed on 2+ pages so that the user didn't have to wait for the entire article to load before they could start reading. This was fine and users got used to having to navigate to the next page, much like a book.

A shift in thinking

With modern web speeds and technologies do we still need to use this technique on pages to display a list of articles or to change ‘pages’ within an article?

In terms of sites like ‘Google’ and newspapers where there are normally thousands (sometimes hundreds of thousands) of results, I think it is still perfectly acceptable but only in the results/article list rather than the posts themselves.

I have yet to incorporate any form of pagination into either my article list page or even thought about doing it for any articles and do I need to?

Jekyll and pagination

This site is built on Jekyll, which has a built in way to paginate the list of articles and display only a selected number on entries on the first page. However I've yet to implement the code to do this and I'm debating whether I would need to.

The initial blog page on my website will basically be an index, right now it's a bit empty, but say I eventually have a hundred articles, wouldn't an ‘endless’ scroll work better and then have a way for users to search through the list at the top? Or would it be better to scroll between pages? With Jekyll being a static page site, I don't see any performance drawback of doing this (other than a massively huge scroll bar) as surely loading in the titles and dates of those articles won't increase the HTML to unreasonable amounts?

There are many positives and negatives to however you answer the problem, I guess there is no ‘catch-all’ answer. It's something that needs to be thought out and planned to give users the best experience on the site. In my opinion, if a user is just looking to browse through the posts available, then listening them all in one long list (whether this be an endless scroll or another method) is easier and more convenient for the user, it allows them to just scroll backwards and forwards through the posts until they find one they fancy having a read of.

I believe users who want to go to a specific blog will generally use searching tools (whether this be a site search or browsers built in find) or have a link to the article already and only those who are just having a gander would scroll further than the first couple of articles.

So, if I continue to think in this way pagination might actually work well, showing users just a selection of articles and then giving them an option to view ‘all’ if needed. Google's search results can be thought of in the same way, their pagination is pointless, as no-one has the time to sit and look through sometimes 10s of thousands of result pages, it's generally known that if it isn't on the first page that users won't spend the time looking through many more, instead, they will just try a different search.

Search

This also got me thinking about searching, and whether, on a blog such as this, a simple in–page style search would be much easier to implement and have a better performance and user experience than using a plug–in such as Google search.

I've never liked how some sites take you away to a Google styled page that feels separated from the site to search the site itself, it just feels like I'm being taken out of my way.

In summary

This is something I'm undecided on, and feel like it's something I don't have to decide on right away, but it's got me thinking on what I could do. I'm intrigued at how others have decided how to handle these situations and why they have chosen to do so? Whether this be to display several pages of 10 articles or to show recents and then have a way to reveal all?

Signing off

that sdmix guy Matt Allen

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