Pagination, thing of the past

I’ve been trying to choose a motherboard to replace a dodgy one in a computer.

As usual I went to dabs to get one as I’ve always found them to be reliable.

I needed a motherboard that supported a given chip-set, had on-board video and LAN and did SATA.

Finding a board that meets all those requirements on dabs used to be a real pain.

You had to click on the motherboards section, then do some searches on strings that may or not match what data they had entered for each product.

You also had to hope that they had followed a consistent vocabulary (Socket-775 vs S775 vs S-775 etc).

It’s a wonder I found anything!

A few years back though dabs re-did their site and introduced a new tool for finding products.

Essentially, they made searching redundant with a clever filtering tool that allowed you to drill down by any of the major criteria for a product.

As can be seen from the screen-shot it’s really quick now to choose a motherboard that matches my criteria and is in stock.

When I first saw this I was overjoyed but 2-3 years later I still see very few sites doing anything similar.

Not only does it make pagination redundant (for all but very large data-sets) but it also does away with so-called “advanced search”.

Just chuck out all the results and let the user filter them.

The “page 2 of 20” links become almost redundant.

Now obviously this sort of filtering solution only really works with “filterable” data.

But even when there’s only a small amount of data like that it can still help.

I implemented it at home on my photo database – the only meta-data I used was the date the photo was taken (or imported in the case of film photos) and it’s still really useful.

I have thousands of photos in there with little in the way of tagging so searching was next to impossible – the filtering thing makes it much easier to find things though.

I just wish more sites would do this.