Navigating ambiguity

A quick comment about navigating into the past on blogs.

This is one of the things that annoy me the most in the present time of blogs on the web. It’s a matter of semantics. It’s a detail of navigation, of interaction. It’s these tiny two links on – about – every blog that allow you to navigate into the past.

The problem is not the form of navigation, I think that’s awesome – although not represented in this blog. The problem I have with it is the way it’s applied through the various blogs.

On the one side we have the navigation in the form of ‘Next Posts’ and ‘Previous Posts’. Be it articles, posts, blogs, snippets, thoughtspewings, or whatever someone calls it on his or her blog, this way of navigating is clear and consistent.

The other side is the navigation in the form of ‘Next Page’ and ‘Previous Page’. These links are so ambiguous that the only effect they have on readers (visitors, users etc.) is annoyance. What does a ‘Next Page’ link do? Does it show me the next posts or the previous posts? I mean, on a page with only one link (the one where navigating to the next posts would be navigating into the future) it’s clear cut. But some designers tend to align that link to the right, and as soon as the link that allows you to go to newer posts is in the mark-up, the link into the past, magically aligns to the left.

This ambiguity makes navigating go from a one click action to a three click action. And that’s just not cool.