Pagination directions

Although pagination is a widely diffused pattern, some times it can still be a bit confusing, when it comes to blogs.

Most blogs (and many news sites) have a couple of links at the bottom of the page, newer and older posts or articles. Of course, there are two opposite ways to arrange those links: put the newer link on the left and the older one on the right, or just the opposite. What I consider to be annoying (and confusing), is to find both alternatives used inconsistently across blogs and websites.

For example, the Google Blog puts the Newer Posts link on the left,

Google blog pagination links

while Worpress places Newer Entries » on the right

Wordpress blog pagination

Confusing, isn’t it? What is the right way to show those links?

Pagination by itself is quite clear: most web users have long become accustomed to Google search results pagination,

Google search results pagination

and Yahoo’s Design Patter Library states it clearly:

  • Present links in the following order: ‘Prev’, page links, ‘Next’.
  • Display a left arrow after the label ‘Prev’.
  • Display a right arrow before the label ‘Next’.

In other words, previous goes to the left, while next goes to the right.

The problem with blogs and articles is that it’s not clear what should we consider the “previous page”.

Is it the one with the older (previous) posts? Or, since articles are listed starting from the more recent ones, the page with the more recent posts?

I think any answer would be debatable, and that’s the source of all the confusion. What would you say?

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