What is breadcrumb navigation?
Breadcrumb navigation is a website navigation strategy that assists visitors in understanding their present placement within the hierarchical structure of a website. It is often seen towards the top of a website and comprises a succession of links that depict the user’s journey from the homepage to their current page.
The name “breadcrumb” comes from the fairy tale “Hansel and Gretel,” in which the children used breadcrumbs to find their way home. Similarly, breadcrumb navigation allows visitors to retrace their travels and return to higher-level sites or the homepage by leaving a trail of links.
Breadcrumb navigation often consists of numerous levels, each separated by a symbol such as a greater-than sign (>) or a forward slash (/). A breadcrumb, for example, may look like this:
Home > Category > Subcategory > Current Page
Each breadcrumb is generally a clickable link that allows visitors to return to any previous level in the hierarchy. This navigation mechanism benefits websites with complex hierarchical structures, such as e-commerce sites with many categories and subcategories.
Breadcrumb navigation has various advantages:
1. Contextual information: Users can instantly grasp where they are in the structure of a website and how they got to the current page.
2. Simple navigation: Breadcrumbs enable visitors to travel straight to higher-level pages rather than depending on the back button or site menus.
3. Better user experience: Breadcrumb navigation improves user experience by offering obvious direction and eliminating uncertainty or disorientation.
4. SEO benefits: By providing keyword-rich internal links and boosting website crawl ability, breadcrumbs may help with search engine optimization (SEO).
However, it should be noted that breadcrumb navigation may only be appropriate for some kinds of websites, particularly those with shallow or non-hierarchical structures. When selecting whether to use breadcrumb navigation, analyzing your website’s demands and design is critical.
When Should You Use Breadcrumbs?
Breadcrumbs may be useful in various situations, especially if your website has a hierarchical structure or numerous tiers of information. Here are some examples of when utilizing breadcrumbs might be beneficial:
1. Complex websites with numerous categories, subcategories, and pages: If your website has a complex organization with several levels of categories, subcategories, and pages, breadcrumbs may assist visitors in comprehending their present position and simply navigating back to higher-level pages.
2. E-commerce websites: E-commerce websites often feature a large product catalog arranged into categories and subcategories. Breadcrumbs may help consumers navigate the product hierarchy and quickly return to the main category or homepage.
3. Websites with a lot of material: Breadcrumbs may help websites with a lot of information, such as news portals, blogs, or knowledge bases. Users may follow their progress and return to higher-level categories or major areas.
4. Websites with multi-step processes: Breadcrumbs may offer visitors a feeling of progress and enable them to travel back and forth between phases if your website has multi-step procedures, such as checkout flows or form submissions.
5. Large websites with numerous parts: Breadcrumbs may assist visitors in exploring various sections, preserving context, and easily moving between them on large websites with distinct sections.
Breadcrumbs may benefit mobile websites or responsive designs with limited screen area. They give a concise manner of displaying the website structure without taking up too much screen space.
Breadcrumbs are particularly effective when combined with navigation elements like menus or search bars. They act as additional navigation assistance and may improve the user experience by giving clear context and simple access to higher-level sites.
What Are the Different Types of Breadcrumbs?
There are three sorts of breadcrumbs that are often used in web design:
1. Breadcrumbs depending on location: Location-based breadcrumbs, also known as hierarchical breadcrumbs, display the user’s current position within the website’s structure. They usually show the route from the homepage to the current page, as defined by the site structure. As an example:
Home > Category > Subcategory > Current Page
Location-based breadcrumbs assist visitors in understanding where they are and how they got there on websites with complex hierarchical structures.
2. Breadcrumbs with attributes: Breadcrumbs based on characteristics give further information about the current page, such as filters, tags, or attributes. They assist people in comprehending the unique properties associated with the material they see. As an example:
Home > Category > Color: Blue > Size: Medium
Attribute-based breadcrumbs are widespread on e-commerce websites where customers may narrow their search results using multiple criteria.
3. journey-based breadcrumbs: Path-based breadcrumbs, also known as history-based or dynamic breadcrumbs, display the user’s real journey to the current page. They show the sequence of pages accessed by the user. As an example:
Home > Page A > Page B > Current Page
Path-based breadcrumbs are important for recording the user’s navigation history and making it easy for them to retrace their steps or return to prior pages.
It’s crucial to note that these breadcrumbs are not mutually exclusive, and you may mix them depending on your website’s demands.