Breadcrumbs: Should they be moved?

Let's talk about interface elements, validation, and Sec. 508.

Moderators: rcrisler1, saltybeagle

Where should the breadcrumbs go?

Leave them where they are -- in the upper-right corner
Move them below the tools bar and right justify
Move them below the tools bar and left justify
Move them somewhere else on the page
No votes
Get rid of them altogether
Total votes : 4

Re: Breadcrumbs: Should they be moved?

Postby rcrisler1 » Wed Apr 13, 2005 2:25 pm

The rationale ...

There are differences of opinion in the literature on where on the page the breadcrumbs line should be placed. Steve Krug's book 'Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability' puts it this way:

Put them at the top. Breadcrumbs seem to work best if they're at the top of the page, above everything. I think this is probably because it literally marginalizes them - making them seem like an accessory, like page numbers in a book or magazine. When breadcrumbs are farther down on the page they end up contending with the primary navigation. Result? It makes me think. ("Which one is the real navigation? Which one should I be using?")

Breadcrumbs are, even according to the study cited here (the Software Usability Research Laboratory at Wichita State University is one of the best resources on web usability; it's linked in the Web DevNet site under 'Web Talk > Offsite Resources') at best a tertiary navigational aid.

I'm not so sure that the higher use of breadcrumbs when they are placed under the title and explicitly "closer to other links on the page" might not stem from user confusion, as Krug alludes to.

For what it's worth, Jakob Neilsen (, author of the book 'Designing Web Usability,' and the preeminent expert on web usability) places breadcrumbs at the top on his own site.

And the second question: Has any consideration been made toward moving the breadcrumbs?

None so far. The difficulty of moving an interface element at this point is that we have several thousand pages using tables for layout in which the location of that element can't be controlled from an external file. We'll need to complete a transition to coding using pure CSS positioning (at least for the template elements); some developers may require substantial assistance. Then we would have the flexibility to change that element's location without having everyone digging into their code on each individual page under their control.

Robert J Crisler
Manager, Internet and Interactive Media
University Communications
321 Canfield Administration Building
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Site Admin
Posts: 153
Joined: Wed May 12, 2004 12:20 pm
Location: Lincoln


Postby dsockrider » Fri Dec 16, 2005 11:52 am

There are several automated bread crumb creation scripts, I've never used one, but would that be a good script to add to automaticly create your bread crumbs?

....assuming you have a directory structure that would allow it to display properly.

I'd prefer to see the bread crumbs at the top of the content display area, below the search this bulletin board bread crumb trail.
Posts: 189
Joined: Fri Dec 16, 2005 10:37 am
Location: Engineering

Return to Usability/Accessibility

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests