Jeff Croft

I’m a product designer in Seattle, WA. I recently worked at Simply Measured, and previously co-founded Lendle.

Some of my past clients include Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo, and the University of Washington.

I’ve authored two books on web and interactive design and spoken at dozens of conferences around the world.

I’m currently accepting contract work and considering full-time opportunities.

Link // 08.09.2008 // 9:38 AM // 4 Comments

Michael Heilemann: To Read Old Stuff, Go Left

Michael Heilemann says that pagination widgets should always point left for older stuff. I’m not sure I agree — but I totally se his point. It’s a tricky thing to solve with things like blogs, as they’re naturally in reverse chronological order. I know I’m not consistent about it; I tend to just do what feels right at the time.

To illustrate the problem, consider two scenarios: a blog has “next” and “previous” page links. I would say “next” should pointing to the right, so left is newer stuff. Now, a daily archive page shows all the content posted on one day, and has links to “next day” and “previous day”. I would say “next day” should be on the right, meaning left is older stuff. Clearly, this results in inconsistent interfaces (in one scenario, older stuff is to the right, and in the other, older stuff is to the left). What do you think? Should this be consistent?

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  1. 001 // Trey Piepmeier // 08.09.2008 // 3:16 PM

    I like to avoid the whole previous/next thing and use older/newer.

  2. 002 // Michael Heilemann // 08.10.2008 // 12:53 AM

    Like Trey, I also prefer older/newer. But my stance remains the same; things to the left is older, always. Under all circumstances :)

  3. 003 // Jeff Croft // 08.10.2008 // 8:07 AM

    I like to avoid the whole previous/next thing and use older/newer.

    That definitely would help clarify things. But I’m still curious if you’re consistent about which side each is on, even when you throw the reverse chronological blog-like list in the the mix. :)

  4. 004 // nat // 08.12.2008 // 8:52 PM

    I don’t think it’s ever been a conscious decision, but in looking at some sites I’ve built recently, all of the “older content” links have been on the right.

    While I see Michael’s point, I think the fact that Google and Flickr and Yahoo and so many other sites do the opposite (even though many of them are non-reverse-chronological) makes just the opposite a better approach, simply because it is so prevalent.

    I think that using more specific words is more important than positioning, though. Previous and Next are simply too arbitrary. Does the “previous” link lead to previously published content, or does it take me back to the previous page that I’ve already seen? I, too, prefer older/newer, or some other more specific variation.

    When I’m reading a blog-type site, and using pagination, I’m more interested in getting to content that is new to me, regardless of whether it is technically “older” content than the page I’m currently viewing, so maybe older/newer isn’t the best option either. The more I think about this, the less certain I am.

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