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Breadcrumb Navigation

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What is Breadcrumb ?

Breadcrumb is a mechanism for keeping track of the user’s location within an application and provides navigation facility.


  • Breadcrumb takes up very little space and hence helps in space availability for the display of content.
  • Gives user the knowledge of their current location relative to higher-level concepts.
  • One-click navigation to navigate back to higher levels in the hierarchy.

Breadcrumb compare.gif
      Traditional Navigation                          Breadcrumb Navigation


  • Lack of proper update, especially on web applications when new pages are added or there is modification in hierarchical structure, can cause inconsistency or broken links.
  • Breadcrumb is more useful on a stylus-driven device and not appropriate for scroll and select devices.

When to use ?

  • When the application is heavily content driven and also has a lot of navigation, breadcrumb can help is saving space for content as well as giving proper navigation facility.
  • The user cannot easily navigate through the hierarchy via other local navigation methods.
  • In case of a web application, if a user might arrive to a page from an external source (e.g., through a search engine) and the user will need a sense of context.

Guidelines while implementing Breadcrumb

  • Whenever possible, labels of breadcrumb should match the title of the corresponding form/page of the application.
  • Display the title of the current form/page as the last label in the breadcrumb and don’t provide hyperlink to it.
  • Avoid to hyperlink the symbol (e.g. sign ( >> )) that separates the labels.
  • Hyperlink color/style of the breadcrumb should be the same irrespective of whether the link was previously visited by user or not.
  • Use ‘Title Case’ for labels in the breadcrumb.
  • Avoid using breadcrumbs for single-level hierarchy navigation that have no logical hierarchy or grouping.

Design Tip

Using combination of breadcrumb and fly-out navigation
Combination of breadcrumb and fly-out navigation is helpful in displaying child menus related to each level of the breadcrumb.
Implementing this concept - When a user ‘clicks on’ or ‘hovers over’ a breadcrumb link, the link opens a sub-navigation panel that lists additional attributes.

Breadcrumb flyout1.gif

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