eBay

Pagination

SRP Pagination

Introduction

The pagination pattern allows a user to navigate back and forwards through a URL based dataset, or jump directly to any specific URL in that set.

The pattern is typically used for pagination of search results.

Working Examples

You can take a look at the pagination pattern in action on our examples site.

You can get an idea of the required markup structure by viewing our bones project.

You can see a fully-styled implementation by viewing our eBay Skin example.

Terminology

Pagination
The composite patterns as a whole, containing the items defined below
Previous
Link that navigates to previous page of results
Next
Link that navigates to next page of results
Items
Links that navigate to exact page of results
Bookends
Collective name for the previous and next links, as they 'bookend' the navigation items
Current Page
The current resultset index, as reflected in the pagination UI
Client-Side Pagination
Pagination links trigger page content updates via AJAX
Server-Side Pagination
Pagination links trigger page content updates via full page reload

Best Practices

Pagination may update the results immediately on the client via AJAX, or on the server via a full page reload. In both cases, the browser's URL will be updated to reflect the new, book-markable page of results.

Do not use buttons for URL based pagination. Because the URL is updated, and the browser history stack updated, a link is the correct tag to use.

Pagination must have a heading element. For example "Results Pagination". This heading can be hidden offscreen for sighted users.

Items must be marked up as a list of links (not buttons).

Bookends must be marked up as links (not buttons).

Bookend icons should be created using SVG.

Interaction Design

This section provides the pattern interaction design for keyboard, screen reader & pointing devices.

Keyboard

The bookend and item links must be keyboard focusable at all times (even when visually disabled).

If Previous bookend has keyboard focus, pressing TAB key must move focus to first pagination link.

If pagination item has keyboard focus, pressing TAB key must move focus to next pagination item.

If last pagination item has keyboard focus, pressing TAB key must move focus to Next bookend link.

For client-side pagination, keyboard focus must remain on the previous, next or item link after activation.

Screen Reader

Bookend link text must be announced (i.e. "Previous page" and "Next page").

If bookend links are visually disabled, they must also be announced as disabled.

If a pagination item is visually displayed as the current page, it must also be announced as the current page.

For client-side pagination, the new page index must be announced after previous, next or item link activation.

Developer Guide

Server-side pagination requires no JavaScript, pagination is simply a collection of links inside of a navigation landmark region.

JavaScript may be used to enhance this baseline behavior, so that the page renders the new result set without a full page reload.

To quickly get an idea of the required markup, visit the pagination bones.

Content Layer (HTML)

We will step through the creation process for server-side pagination.

We will house the pagination in a navigation landmark, with heading:

<nav class="pagination" role="navigation">
    <h2 class="clipped">Results Pagination</h2>
</nav>

The heading doesn't have to go inside of the nav, it could be placed just before. Likewise there is no requirement that the heading be 'clipped' (hidden to sighted users) - but this is usually the case.

Navigation landmarks are even more useful when labelled. So let's go ahead and use the heading text as the label of the landmark:

<nav aria-labelledby="pagination-heading" class="pagination" role="navigation">
    <h2 class="clipped" id="pagination-heading">Results Pagination</h2>
</nav>

Bookends

Our previous and next links are going to 'bookend' the navigation items:

<nav aria-labelledby="pagination-heading" class="pagination" role="navigation">
    <h2 class="clipped" id="pagination-heading">Results Pagination</h2>
    <a class="pagination__previous" href="http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_nkw=guitars">
       <svg aria-labelledby="pagination-previous-title" role="img">
            <title id="pagination-previous-title">Previous Page</title>
            <use xlink:href="#svg-icon-chevron-light-left"></use>
        </svg>
    </a>
    <!-- navigation items will go here -->
    <a class="pagination__next" href="http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_nkw=guitars&_pgn=2">
        <svg aria-labelledby="pagination-next-title" role="img">
            <title id="pagination-next-title">Previous Page</title>
            <use xlink:href="#svg-icon-chevron-light-left"></use>
        </svg>
    </a>
</nav>

Because the bookends are presented as SVG icons, we must ensure there is a text equivalent (using the "title" tag) for assistive technology.

Pagination Items

The pagination items are represented as a list of links:

<nav aria-labelledby="pagination-heading" class="pagination" role="navigation">
    <h2 class="clipped" id="pagination-heading">Results Pagination</h2>
    <a class="pagination__previous" href="http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_nkw=guitars">
       <svg aria-labelledby="pagination-previous-title" role="img">
            <title id="pagination-previous-title">Previous Page</title>
            <use xlink:href="#svg-icon-chevron-light-left"></use>
        </svg>
    </a>
    <ol class="pagination__list">
        <li>
            <a href="http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_nkw=guitars" class="pagination__item">1<span class="clipped"> - current page</span></a>
        </li>
        <li>
            <a href="http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_nkw=guitars&_pgn=2" class="pagination__item">2</a>
        </li>
        <li>
            <a href="http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_nkw=guitars&_pgn=3" class="pagination__item">3</a>
        </li>
        ...
    </ol>
    <a class="pagination__next" href="http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_nkw=guitars&_pgn=2">
        <svg aria-labelledby="pagination-next-title" role="img">
            <title id="pagination-next-title">Previous Page</title>
            <use xlink:href="#svg-icon-chevron-light-left"></use>
        </svg>
    </a>
</nav>

State

There are three aspects of state that must be reflected visually and semantically.

  1. The state of the heading - the heading should reflect the current page
  2. The state of the bookends - are we at the beginning or end of the resultset?
  3. The state of the items - which item reflects the current index?
Heading State

The heading should let us know which pagination item is currently being shown. This can be achieved by suffixing the header text:

<h2 class="clipped" id="pagination-heading">Results Pagination - Page 1</h2>

There is one more trick:

<span aria-live="polite" role="status">
    <h2 class="clipped" id="pagination-heading">Results Pagination - Page 1</h2>
</span>

We have wrapped the heading in a live-region. Why? All will be revealed when we cover client-side pagination in the JavaScript section below.

If you are not implementing client-side pagination, you do not need the live-region.

Bookend State

Assuming that the current pagination index is 1 (i.e the first item in the result set), here is how the first bookend would be marked up:

<a aria-disabled="true" class="pagination__previous" href="http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_nkw=guitars">
   <svg aria-labelledby="pagination-previous-title" role="img">
        <title id="pagination-previous-title">Previous Page</title>
        <use xlink:href="#svg-icon-chevron-light-left"></use>
    </svg>
</a>

Because we typically 'grey-out' the first bookend in this state, the aria-disabled attribute has been added to convey this state semantically to assistive technology.

Item State

And here is how the first item would be marked up:

<li>
    <a aria-current="page" href="http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_nkw=guitars" class="pagination__item">1<span class="clipped"> - current page</span></a>
</li>

Again, this item would be typically styled visually to reflect it's 'current item' status. The aria-current attribute allows us to do the same semantically for assistive technology. Because aria-current lacks wide support, we also use 'clipped' text as a fallback.

HTML Checkpoint

At this point we now have a pagination control that works without CSS and JavaScript.

Here is a recap of the final HTML:

<nav aria-labelledby="pagination-heading" class="pagination" role="navigation">
    <span aria-live="polite" role="status">
        <h2 class="clipped" id="pagination-heading">Results Pagination - Page 1</h2>
    </span>
    <a aria-disabled="true" class="pagination__previous" href="http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_nkw=guitars">
       <svg aria-labelledby="pagination-previous-title" role="img">
        <title id="pagination-previous-title">Previous Page</title>
        <use xlink:href="#svg-icon-chevron-light-left"></use>
    </svg>
    </a>
    <ol class="pagination__list">
        <li>
            <a aria-current="page" href="http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_nkw=guitars" class="pagination__item">1<span class="clipped"> - current page</span></a>
        </li>
        <li>
            <a href="http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_nkw=guitars&_pgn=2" class="pagination__item">2</a>
        </li>
        <li>
            <a href="http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_nkw=guitars&_pgn=3" class="pagination__item">3</a>
        </li>
        ...
    </ol>
    <a class="pagination__next" href="http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_nkw=guitars&_pgn=2">
        <svg aria-labelledby="pagination-next-title" role="img">
            <title id="pagination-next-title">Previous Page</title>
            <use xlink:href="#svg-icon-chevron-light-left"></use>
        </svg>
    </a>
</nav>

Presentation Layer (CSS)

There are no special considerations for accessibility when it comes to styling pagination. You should however try and make use of the aria-current and aria-disabled attribute hooks, rather than inventing classes.

Behaviour Layer (JavaScript)

Server-side pagination requires no JavaScript, it is simply a collection of links. Clicking any link reloads the entire page. This experience can be enhanced with JavaScript, so that only the results portion of the screen is re-rendered.

Client-Side Pagination

It is outside the scope of this guide to write all of the JavaScript behaviour for a partial page update, but the snippet below gives a rough idea of the steps required.

// get the links
var paginationLinks = document.querySelector('.pagination a');

// add click handler
paginationLinks.forEach(link => link.addEventListener('click', function(e) {
    // prevent link behaviour (i.e. window reload)
    e.preventDefault();

    // steps todo
    // 1. render new results
    // 2. push new url
    // 3. update pagination state
}));

From an accessibility point of view, we are most concerned with step 3.

Update Pagination State

Upon clicking a link, the heading needs to change it's state to reflect the new current index.

For example if moving from page 1 to page 2, the HTML must be updated from this:

<span aria-live="polite" role="status">
    <h2 class="clipped" id="pagination-heading">Results Pagination - Page 1</h2>
</span>

To this:

<span aria-live="polite" role="status">
    <h2 class="clipped" id="pagination-heading">Results Pagination - Page 2</h2>
</span>

Performing this DOM update will trigger the live-region notification for assistive technology.

ARIA Reference

This section gives an overview of our use of ARIA, within the specific context of this pattern.

role=navigation

Creates a navigation landmark for assistive technology.

role=img

Applied to bookend SVG tags to reinforce image semantics.

aria-labelledby

Use this property to label the navigation landmark with the text of the heading tag.

Use this property to label the SVG element with the text of the title tag.

aria-current

Refers to the current item in the pagination (i.e. the current dataset index).

aria-live

Creates a polite live-region around the heading. Meaning the heading state will be announced by assistive technology when it changes.

role=status

Creates a polite live-region around the heading. Meaning the heading state will be announced by assistive technology when it changes.

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