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Breadcrumb (navigation)

 

Breadcrumb (navigation)

GNOME Files, demonstrating its implementation of location-based breadcrumb navigation.
Breadcrumb in Dolphin file manager.

The graphical control element Breadcrumbs or breadcrumb trail is a navigation aid used in user interfaces. It allows users to keep track of their locations within programs or documents. The term comes from the trail of breadcrumbs left by Hansel and Gretel in the eponymous fairytale.[1]

Contents

  • Usage 1
    • Websites 1.1
    • Software 1.2
  • Types 2
  • Usability 3
  • Other names 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Usage

Websites

Breadcrumbs typically appear horizontally across the top of a Web page, often below title bars or headers. They provide links back to each previous page the user navigated through to get to the current page or—in hierarchical site structures—the parent pages of the current one. Breadcrumbs provide a trail for the user to follow back to the starting or entry point.[1] A greater-than sign (>) often serves as hierarchy separator, although designers may use other glyphs (such as » or ›), as well as various graphical treatments.

Typical breadcrumbs look like this:

Home page > Section page > Subsection page

or

Home page : Section page : Subsection page

or

home page : section page 1 : section page 2

Software

Current file managers including Windows Explorer (from Windows Vista onwards), Mac OS's Finder, GNOME's Nautilus, KDE's Dolphin, Xfce's Thunar, MATE's Caja, and SnowBird allow breadcrumb navigation, often replacing or extending an address bar.

Types

There are two types of Web breadcrumbs:

  • Location: location breadcrumbs are static and show where the page is located in the website hierarchy.
  • Attribute: attribute breadcrumbs give information that categorizes the current page.

Usability

Location breadcrumbs are not necessarily appropriate for sites whose content is so rich that single categories do not fully describe a particular piece of content. For this reason, a tag may be more appropriate, though breadcrumbs can still be used to allow the user to retrace their steps and see how they arrived at the current page.

Other names

Some commentators and programmers alternatively use the term "cookie crumb" as a synonym to describe the navigation design.
This should not be confused with the term cookie, which refers to HTTP cookies (text files websites write on a visitor's machine that record data such as login information).

Michigan Community College's Virtual Learning Collaborative[2] uses the term "Navigation Path", as do some Drupal users.[3]

References

  1. ^ a b Mark Levene (18 October 2010). An Introduction to Search Engines and Web Navigation (2nd ed.). Wiley. p. 221.  
  2. ^ MCCVLC Black Board Help
  3. ^ Setting the Navigation Path by Context in Drupal

External links

  • Breadcrumb Navigation: Further Investigation of Usage by Bonnie Lida Rogers and Barbara Chaparro, 2003
  • Influence of Training and Exposure on the Usage of Breadcrumb Navigation by Spring S. Hull, 2004
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