CHAPTER 13

DESIGNING EFFECTIVE BREADCRUMBS

Historical Breadcrumbs PAGE 198

Hierarchical Breadcrumbs PAGE 202

Emergent Breadcrumb Designs That Integrate Search and Browse PAGE 203

Case Study: Integrated Faceted Breadcrumbs on Walmart PAGE 214

Usability, SEO, and Faceted Navigation, by Jaimie Sirovich PAGE 219

On The Future of Breadcrumbs, by Keith Instone PAGE 225

In a 2007 Alertbox entry titled “Breadcrumb Navigation Increasingly Useful,” Web-design expert Jakob Nielsen states: “Breadcrumbs show people their current location relative to higher-level concepts, helping them understand where they are in relation to the rest of the site. Breadcrumbs afford one-click access to higher site levels and thus, rescue users who parachute into very specific, but inappropriate, destinations through search or deep links. Breadcrumbs never cause problems in [usability] testing. People might overlook this small design element, but they never misinterpret breadcrumb trails or have trouble operating them.”

Based on his statement, you might conclude that breadcrumbs have attained the status of an essential finding user interface element; however, the prominent usability expert Jared Spool disagrees. In his blog post Design Cop-out #2: Breadcrumbs, Jared Spool states that, although breadcrumbs themselves aren't bad, many sites implement breadcrumbs poorly and use them as a design hack to compensate for a poorly designed finding experience. According to Jared, the biggest problem with many breadcrumb ...

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