We understand that the world wide web is a big, scary thing for most people, so each month we’ll try to take a word, acronym or phrase and explain to you in simple, ‘non-techie’ terms what it all means. This is DBG’s Digital Definition of the Month!

Pagination is purely and simply the process of dividing content into separate pages.  These pages could be in a physical book, in an online PDF, or on the internet.  We’re more concerned with the latter.

On the internet, pagination can be seen in the following areas:


Search Engines

Google uses pagination to limit the number of listings shown on the first page of their search results.  So pagination becomes a huge deal for search engine optimisation and companies wanting their websites to rank on that first page.


Forums or Blogs

Many forums and blogs use pagination to display only the most recent threads or replies, with website users needing to click through to read the full threads or all comments.


Online Forms or Surveys

If you’ve ever come across a really lengthy online form, it may have been split across several screens to make it easier to digest.  This is also the case for some checkouts used in online stores.


E-Commerce Websites

E-Commerce websites, or online stores, use pagination to limit the  number of products shown on a particular page.  When at the bottom of the page users need to manually navigate to the next page of items through links that are usually provided at the bottom of the page.



The issue with pagination on websites is the manner in which is implemented.  If you’re going to have pagination in any form on your website, we’d recommend following these hints from Sven Lennartz of Smashing Magazine:

  1. Provide large clickable areas
  2. Don’t use underlines
  3. Identify the current page
  4. Space our page links
  5. Provide ‘Previous’ and ‘Next’ links
  6. Use First and Last links (where applicable)
  7. Put First and Last links on the outside


To see some excellent examples, here’s the link to Sven’s article on the Smashing Magazine website:  Pagination Gallery: Examples & Good Practices.