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7:12 Breadcrumb Navigation

Relative Importance:

Relative Importance rating of 1 out of 5

Strength of Evidence:

Strength of Evidence rating of 3 out of 5

Document Type: Guideline


Topic:

Navigation


Guideline:

Do not expect users to use breadcrumbs effectively.  Breadcrumbs can increase navigation efficiency for experienced users and provide orientation for visitors parachuting into the site.


Comments:

One study reported no difference in task completion times and total pages visited between groups that had breadcrumbs and those that did not. Participants could have used breadcrumbs thirty-two percent of the time, but only did so six percent of the time. It is probably not worth the effort to include breadcrumbs unless you can show that your Web sites users use them frequently, either to navigate the site, or to understand the sites hierarchySome studies suggest that breadcrumbs can lead to more efficient site navigation and improved user satisfaction. Studies also suggest that breadcrumbs are more useful for experienced Web users than novice users.

One study found that test participantsAlthough one study showed that users only used breadcrumbs for navigation infrequently, and that breadcrumbs had no impact on task completion times, another study found that test participants who received instruction on the use of breadcrumbs completed tasks much faster than those who did not. This time savings could result in increased productivity for users that search Web sites on a daily basis.


Sources:

  • Hull, S.S. (2004), Influence of training and exposure on the usage of breadcrumb navigation, Usability News, 6.1 (http://psychology.wichita.edu/surl/usabilitynews/61/breadcrumb.htm).
  • Rogers, L. & Chaparro, B. (2003). Breadcrumb navigation: Further investigation of usage. Usability News, 5.2. Retrieved November 2005, from http://psychology.wichita.edu/surl/usabilitynews/52/breadcrumb.htm.

Good Example:

Breadcrumbs, when used, allow users to quickly navigate your site.

07_12_good_example1

07_12_good_example2

07_12_good_example3

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