What is breadcrumb navigation?

Breadcrumb navigation is a type of secondary navigation scheme that reveals the user’s location in a website or application, typically by displaying a series of links separated by a separator symbol (e.g., ” > “) that represent the hierarchical path to the current page.

The term “breadcrumb” comes from the old story of Hansel and Gretel, who left a trail of breadcrumbs in the forest so they could find their way back home. In a similar way, breadcrumb navigation provides a trail of links that allows the user to retrace their steps and navigate back up the hierarchy of the website or application.

Breadcrumb navigation is often used on websites with a complex and hierarchical structure, such as e-commerce sites, where it helps the user understand the context of the current page and provides a quick way to navigate to higher-level pages. It can also be useful on sites with a lot of content, such as news sites or blogs, where it can help the user quickly understand the categorization of an article or the section of the site it belongs to.

In addition to providing navigation, breadcrumb trails can also improve the user experience by:

  • Enhancing usability: By displaying the user’s location in the site, breadcrumb navigation makes it easier for users to understand where they are and how they got there, and provides a quick way to navigate to higher-level pages.

  • Improving accessibility: Breadcrumb navigation can be beneficial for users with disabilities, particularly those who use assistive technologies such as screen readers. Screen readers can announce the content of each link in the breadcrumb trail, making it easier for users to understand the context of the page and navigate to other parts of the site.

  • Improving search engine optimization (SEO): By providing a clear hierarchy of the pages on a site, breadcrumb navigation can help search engines better understand the structure of a site and improve its ranking in search results.

In summary, breadcrumb navigation is a secondary navigation scheme that provides users with a clear understanding of their location within a website or application, and offers a quick and convenient way to navigate up the hierarchy of the site.

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