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Breadcrumbs or breadcrumb trail is a navigation aid used in user interfaces. It allows users to keep track of their locations within programs or documents. The term comes from the trail of breadcrumbs left by Hansel and Gretel in the popular fairytale.
Breadcrumbs typically appear horizontally across the top of a web page, often below title bars or headers. They provide links back to each previous page the user navigated through to get to the current page or—in hierarchical site structures—the parent pages of the current one. Breadcrumbs provide a trail for the user to follow back to the starting or entry point. A greater-than sign (>) often serves as hierarchy separator, although designers may use other glyphs (such as » or ›), as well as various graphical treatments.
Typical breadcrumbs look like this:
Home page > Section page > Subsection page
Home page : Section page : Subsection page
home page : section page 1 : section page 2
Current file managers including Windows Explorer (from Windows Vista onwards), Mac OS's Finder, Nautilus, Dolphin, Thunar and SnowBird allow breadcrumb navigation, often replacing or extending an address bar.
There are two types of web breadcrumbs:
- Location: location breadcrumbs are static and show where the page is located in the website hierarchy.
- Attribute: attribute breadcrumbs give information that categorizes the current page.
Location breadcrumbs are not necessarily appropriate for sites whose content is so rich that single categories do not fully describe a particular piece of content. For this reason, a tag may be more appropriate, though breadcrumbs can still be used to allow the user to retrace their steps and see how they arrived at the current page.
Some commentators and programmers alternatively use the term "cookie crumb" as a synonym to describe the navigation design.
This should not be confused with the term cookie, which refers to HTTP cookies (text files websites write on a visitor's machine that record data such as login information).
- Mark Levene (18 October 2010). An Introduction to Search Engines and Web Navigation (2nd ed.). Wiley. p. 221. ISBN 978-0470526842. Retrieved 12 November 2012.
- MCCVLC Black Board Help
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Breadcrumb (navigation).|
- Breadcrumb Navigation: Further Investigation of Usage by Bonnie Lida Rogers and Barbara Chaparro, 2003
- Influence of Training and Exposure on the Usage of Breadcrumb Navigation by Spring S. Hull, 2004