Paging DataTables? Think Twice.


This wasn’t my original opinion until I talked with a team member at work.  Funny how I don’t talk DataTables at the beach or while slogging beers at Medieval Times.  Anyway the problem, I thought, was…writing an efficient mechanism for paging through thousands of potential search results in this application I was working on.

A strange blue cyber background with black lines going vertical and horizontal. The image of a woman takes up a third of the frame and she is starting at a the small image of a meme where someone is wearing a rainbow afro. "Support MindFuel Blog on Patreon" is meticulously crafted into a graphical overlay which obfuscates part of the underlying artistry. So sad.
Is Paging what your users WANT?
Is paging what your users WANT?

But then, my teammate asks,”Have you ever LIKED paging through thousands of search results?” No. Can’t say that I have… In most cases where I have thousands of results, I would rather:

  • Crawl under a rock and drink more beer
  • Do a more detailed query to lesson the results
  • Sort the results based on certain criteria

Prettymuch ANYTHING but be stuck wondering,”Maybe if I click forward to page 57 it will be closer to the data I am looking for.”  So, the cosmic point here is…if you find yourself investing effort figuring out how to present a large amount of data to your users…maybe the FIRST thing to do is step back and make sure that’s what your users WANT to see. 

Cosmic, huh? Yeah, sometimes that 5 watt bulb burns bright for me.

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