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Re: Accessible pagination


From: Dean Hamack
Date: Jun 21, 2009 11:15AM

Hi Jukka. Thanks for responding. My responses to your points are inline.

> This suggests that the pages are dynamically generated pages that are
> results from some search operations, or something like that. In such
> situations, numbers might really be the best link texts. But linking to all
> other result pages, or to several other result pages, would be overlinking
> and not accessible at all. When you check result pages, you almost always
> check them in sequence, so the only link you really need in this context is
> the "next" page, and it should probably be named "next" (in the applicable
> language).

Yes, you are correct in this case. Another example would be a bunch of blog
posts separated out into pages.

> Specifically, the common approach (used e.g. by Google) of
> constructs like
> 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Next
> is wrong, as it puts the most important link last, after a sequence of
> rather pointless links.

Two points on this:

1. I disagree that the links are pointless. Often times when I'm doing a
Google image search or some research, I will mark down a list of page
numbers for a particular search result and go back to them later. If I'm at
page 37, and I remember there is something on page 6 that I want to look at
again, I don't want to have to click the "previous" link 31 times to get
back there. I want to just click on the number 6.

2. Just to play Devil's advocate here and touch on a larger accessibility
issue; once something becomes the "standard" and everyone gets use to doing
it a certain way, then I would argue that it then becomes the "right" way to
do it. Because any deviation from the common method becomes confusing for
the user. Everyone has used Google, and has used that form of pagination.
And while having a list of page numbers may be a minor inconvenience for the
blind user, it can be a big help to the sighted user in certain situations.
So if having the list of links improves usability for 99 people, and makes
it only slightly inconvenient for 1 (but still usable), I would argue that
it's the better choice.

> If my guess about the situation is roughly right, I'd suggest my treatise on
> the topic of accessibility of search or query result presentation:
> http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/forms/qdfa.html

Great article, and it gets me thinking about a few things. Thanks.

Based on your points, perhaps the answer is to put the "next" and "previous"
links before the list of page numbers in the code. That way, the blind user
never has to weed through them. Then I can arrange everything on screen in
the order sighted people are accustomed to using css positioning.