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What is breadcrumb navigation?

We all have memories of being lost as a child. You frantically start looking around for signs or, if you're in a supermarket, aisles and foods that you recognize. Websites are no different from big supermarkets; each webpage is like a new aisle with different products, and it's incredibly easy for users to get lost. 

This can be very frustrating and, more often than not, can cause the user to exit the website entirely. In this article, we will be exploring what exactly breadcrumb navigation is and how it can benefit your company's website by avoiding that eventuality.

The Definition of Breadcrumb Navigation 

The "breadcrumb" concept in the name comes from the famous German fairy tale Hansel and Gretel. In this story, Hansel and Gretel are siblings that find themselves abandoned in a forest, and they use literal breadcrumbs to mark their path so they can find their way back. But, how does this relate to websites and web design?

Breadcrumb navigation is a feature usually located at the top of the webpage and tells the user exactly what pages they've been on and how they have ended up where they are. 

For example, let's say you visited a website specializing in cloud-based communication software. The breadcrumb navigation could read: Home > 8x8 > solutions like 8x8

The most crucial thing about breadcrumb navigation, and what makes it far superior to Hansel and Gretel's solution, is that each breadcrumb, such as 8x8 or Home, is linked. This allows users to jump back to the exact point that they want.  

The Three Genres of Breadcrumb Navigation

1. History based breadcrumb navigation. 

This type of navigation displays all the locations you have visited on that website, essentially providing you with easy access to your website history. 

This can be particularly helpful when the webpage names are complicated or users have been browsing for an extended period. For example, this Home > VoIP > VoIP solutions > broadvoice > services like broadvoice breadcrumb trail allows users to jump back and forth through their history with ease.

But, this is the least frequently used version of breadcrumb navigation because it effectively only serves as a forward and back navigation that is already available on the toolbar.

2. Hierarchy based breadcrumb navigation.

Consider this scenario. You're a small business looking to find software that helps you organize your stock. You search inventory tracking and read up on the software. The explanation is useful, but you want to know what alternative options you have. 

Hierarchy based breadcrumb navigation will display the inventory tracking webpage that you are currently on, but it will also display the parent page. This allows users quick access to a much more extensive database of information or products.

 3. Attribute based breadcrumb navigation.

This form of breadcrumb navigation is most commonly featured on ecommerce platforms. For example, let's say you were purchasing cloud based communications and searching for services like Fuze

Attribute based breadcrumb navigation would not only list the product, but its main filters or features too, such as the software's scalability, quality of sound, or price.

What Are The Benefits of Breadcrumb Navigation?

1. Improve your ranking on Google.

Having a highly ranked website is crucial for any business. Google actually uses breadcrumb navigation to understand your website better and place your assets and contents into categories. Studies show that having breadcrumb navigation significantly improves your chances of appearing on Google's first page.  

 2. Make it easier for your users.

One of the worst things in business is losing a lead. You've paid for email marketing, social media adverts, and more, and you've finally got the customer to your landing page. But, after all of that, they leave due to a poor user experience and difficult web page navigation.

Statistics show that:

  • Almost 90% of users say they would never return to a website that they have found challenging to navigate or use.

  • Almost three out of four online companies that fail, do so due to having a terrible user experience.

  • But despite all of this, only around half of online companies carry out sufficient user experience testing.

Breadcrumb navigation can show users exactly where they are on your website and can help navigate them backwards or forwards depending on their preference. This reduces the bounce rate, which is the percentage of users that leave your web page without clicking on anything.

To Sum Up

Breadcrumb navigation is a useful solution for any online business. It is a discrete yet powerful feature that encourages users to continue taking action on your website. The better the user's website experience, the higher the chance of completing a purchase. Let's quickly recap:

  • Breadcrumb navigation refers to a web-based trail that users can follow backward or forward to help them navigate through your website.

  • There are three types: History, Hierarchy, and Attribute based breadcrumb navigation. Each one is different, and you should pick the most suitable option for your specific industry and business.

  • Breadcrumb navigation can improve your Google ranking and make your user's time on your website a whole lot easier.

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