When you have several pages of search results, what’s the rationale for including links to intermediate pages; anything other than “Next” and “Previous”?
Amazon gets it. Here I am browsing through recommendations.
Google doesn’t get it, and they even do it in a cutesy way by aligning page numbers with O characters.
“Hmm… I see here I have 18,000 results and at least 10 pages. How about skipping to page 7.”
Not likely, because there’s no fresh meat, no ‘scent’ for us to pick up on that would indicate page 7 will be any different than any other page, other than a number. What does the ‘7’ mean anyway? Are the results 7x worse than page 1?
Just because we have to break the results into pages doesn’t mean we should offer the ability to jump to any one page. If we did want to offer that ability, the intermediate links are better represented by their content, assuming some sort of reasonable sort.
Rather than considering the content as arbitrary pages, consider the reason for looking at this information in the first place. For example, if you’re shopping are you price sensitive?
(these are mockups by the way, they don’t really exist on Amazon)
How about browsing new DVD releases?
Whatever someone is doing, they’re doing it for a reason. Don’t throw away an opportunity to improve navigability by forgetting to contextualizing your links.