When you can see the whole path it is easy to know where you are. If you take a hike in the woods, the trail map lets you know where you are going and where you have come from.

You Are Here

When working on your computer or phone, it is impossible to see the whole application from one screen. Have you ever been online or in an application and felt confused- or lost- about where you are and where you want to go? You probably searched the screen for clues to help understand where you are in the scheme of things. One navigation technique that illustrates where you are and where you came from is a breadcrumb. Breadcrumb? Think Hansel and Gretel.


 

Defining Breadcrumbs

A breadcrumb is a device that illustrates each of the pages you have encountered before you have arrived at your current page or screen.

One way to think about this are using the pages in a book. Cover, copyright, table of contents, and chapter 1 are the first four things you encounter in the book. If you go in order and land on Chapter, 1 the breadcrumb will look like this:

Cover/ Copyright / Table of Contents / Chapter 1

Since the breadcrumb is made to help you while interacting with the computer, it can also be used to enhance navigation. To allow you to easily move back through the pages, you can navigate by using hyperlinks on the breadcrumb.

Cover/ Copyright / Table of Contents / Chapter 1

By clicking on the hyperlink Copyright, you will go directly to the Copyright page. This is very helpful when the breadcrumb is short. When the breadcrumb gets too long it becomes more difficult to use.

Can breadcrumbs go too far?

What […]