Tip 21: Crumbs of bread?

Tip 21: Crumbs of bread

Crumbs of bread… what are we talking about? We mean BREADCRUMBS!

Inspired by the fairytale of ‘Hansel and Gretel’ where the children’s trail of breadcrumbs to lead them back home to safety, breadcrumb navigation shows the users current location on a site, and the journey they made to get there.


Am I needed: First off, if your site is only a few pages with only a couple of levels of hierarchy it is probably unnecessary.

Terminology: the page names on your site and those in the breadcrumbs should be consistent.

Keep it small: this is your sites secondary navigation element. You don’t want to draw attention away from the main navigation. The breadcrumb allows a user to orient themselves or quickly navigate back to a previous page.

Design: text should be legible with each link clearly separated. Most sites typically use a chevron or forward slash.

Reduced bounce rates: users coming to your site from a Google search might be enticed into exploring more pages on a previous level. e.g. they’ve landed on a site for a specific T-Shirt, the breadcrumb would allow them go back and view other T-shirts, tops or even to the mens clothing master page.

Extra navigation: on a results page, you could add a custom link (styled differently, perhaps like a button) that allows someone to go quickly back to their results, or carry out a new search.

Reminder: these AREN’T a quick fix for a badly structured or designed menu system. A breadcrumb is a secondary navigation device, and should be treated thusly in terms of priority.