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Easy-To-Follow Breadcrumb Navigation: Best Practices With Examples 

Who knew that a classic children’s story could help users navigate through pages on a website? Breadcrumbs on a website got its meaning from the story of how Hansel and Gretel used breadcrumbs to find their way back home. Year later, your audience now has the freedom to move between pages and increase user satisfaction.

breadcrumb navigation

Lead loyal customers and trusted clients to your website with the help of our web design team. We offer various digital marketing services that will turn your brand into a leading entity in your industry. Contact us today by calling 888-601-5359 or filling out this online contact form.

What are breadcrumbs on a website?

Breadcrumb navigation is a text link path or trail that shows the path users have taken to get to the current page. It acts as a secondary navigation that helps users move back to a previous page without clicking on the back button which will cause them to lose their previous results. 

Breadcrumb trails are often found on e-commerce websites or websites that include a hierarchical structure. With a hierarchical structure, pages are divided into higher and lower levels. This could include the home page, subcategories and smaller groups within a site. It works great on sites that categorize their content, making it easy to group together, and can impact your SEO

There are many benefits of adding breadcrumbs to your web designs:

  • Boosts users experience
  • Improves SEO 
  • Helps Google determine your site structure
  • Makes your web pages easy to navigate
  • Reduces bounce rates

The different types of breadcrumbs

There are three different types of breadcrumb trails you can find on a website: 

  1. Location or Hierarchy-based breadcrumbs
  2. Path or History-based breadcrumbs
  3. Attribute-based breadcrumbs


  1. Location or hierarchy-based breadcrumbs

This breadcrumb trail shows users which level they are on. Larger websites have multiple hierarchy levels, from the highest to the lowest. These trails can move from the main page to the various categories and groups until the user reaches their current page. Pages higher in the hierarchy will include more topics and broad information. Lower subcategories will include specific topics or searches.  

  1. Path or History-based breadcrumbs

This navigational trail shows users the path to the current page. This is helpful to users who want to navigate back without clicking on the back button which could take them to the main or subcategory level. The path-based breadcrumb allows users to navigate to the previous results to continue their search without starting from the main page. 

  1. Attribute-based breadcrumbs

This breadcrumb trail features the attributes a user selected to get to the current page. As a user navigates through different pages to filter their search, it shows the path to narrow down what they are looking for. These can be attributes of a specific product or tags directly linked to the product. This breadcrumb works well on e-commerce sites which allows users to filter their search.   

Breadcrumbs best practices with examples

Make the most of your site’s navigation using these breadcrumbs’ best practices and tips:

Add them to websites using a multi-leveled structure

breadcrumb navigation example 1 who

Websites that use a hierarchal structure and that have multiple levels should use breadcrumbs. If users can access all your site’s pages from the main page or navigation bar, avoid using it.

Move your breadcrumbs to the top of the Page

Make your breadcrumb easy to use and access by adding it to the top of your webpage. Since it acts as secondary navigation, you can place it below your primary navigation bar or header.

Use symbols to separate different pages

breadcrumb navigation example 2 techradar

You can use various symbols between the text link path to separate pages. Symbols you can use include the forward slash (/), greater than symbol (>), or arrow (➝). Ensure that the symbol points or leans to the right. 

Keep your breadcrumb trail small but visible

breadcrumb navigation example 3 nordstrom

Your navigational trail must not take up too much space on the page. Keep it visible for users to see but small enough to avoid drawing attention to it. Consider making the font size small compared to the rest of the page.

Want more inspo? Check out these website navigation examples.

Match your breadcrumbs to your site’s design

breadcrumb navigation example 4 nike

If you want to make your breadcrumb unique, match it to your website design. Add colors or blocks that match the style and graphics of your site. This will help it blend in with your page and contents.

Display multi-step process trails for ease of use

breadcrumb navigation example 5 clicks

If users must complete multiple steps, such as filling in details to schedule an appointment, add the various steps to your breadcrumb navigation. This allows them to move to a previous page if they need to change information. 

Display the full breadcrumb trail

breadcrumb navigation example 6 bp

Show the user the full path taken so that they know where they are and the exact pages visited to get to their current page. Use the full name and exact page links to ensure it is easy to access. 

Avoid using breadcrumbs on your Main page

Breadcrumbs help lead users to a previous page. Since there are no previous pages on a home page, you won’t need to add any breadcrumbs. Anywhere back from the main page will make users exit your site. 

Use it as a secondary navigation

Avoid using breadcrumb trails as your primary navigation. This will make it difficult for users to access other pages on your site. It must be a secondary navigation that supports your primary navigation. 

Progress from the highest to the lowest levels

Breadcrumb navigation should move from the highest to the lowest levels as users narrow their search. Ensure that the navigation moves from left to right to display the path. 

Avoid links to the current Page

When a user is on the current page, avoid adding a link to it on your breadcrumb. If they click on it, it will take them to the exact same page. Instead, bold the name of the current page in your breadcrumb. 

Make breadcrumbs mobile-friendly

breadcrumb navigation example 7 vans

Consumers use their smartphones to browse websites daily. Ensure that your breadcrumb navigation can seamlessly adapt to mobile devices and tablets, making it accessible to all. 

Improve your website’s user experience

Give your loyal customers the best experience by adding website navigation to your site. It benefits your users and Google uses it to navigate your site and determine its structure. With so many benefits, you can turn this classic tale into a functional feature of your webpage. 

WebFX offers a range of web design services that will help you create a webpage that will benefit your customers and improve sales. With over 500 experts, you have access to a team of professionals with over 25 years of experience in digital marketing.

Get in touch with us by calling 888-601-5359 or completing this online form to get a free quote today.

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