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What Are "Breadcrumbs" In Web Design? Why Do They Matter?

Updated: Jan 9, 2023

If you’re revamping your website or just looking at ways to streamline the navigation experience for your customers, implementing “breadcrumbs” may be a great choice.

This design element is a great way to keep customers from losing their place when browsing your website, and to enhance their ability to navigate through different products and services. Let’s dig into this concept further, discuss what breadcrumbs are, and explain their benefits now.

What Is A Breadcrumb?

The term “breadcrumb” refers to a UX/UI (User Experience/User Interface) element that helps visitors navigate on your website. The term actually comes from the old fairy tale of Hansel and Gretel – who dropped bread crumbs behind them while wandering through the woods, to help them find their way back.

In the same way, breadcrumbs are useful for revealing a user’s location on a website, and helping them understand how they can get back to their original starting point.

Here’s an example. Let’s say a user is shopping online for a couch. They visit a website to browse their options. They click the category “Furniture.” Then, they click “Living Room,” and select “Couches.” They are interested in a sectional, so they click the “Sectional” category, and start browsing.

How can they easily navigate back to the “Living Room” or “Couches” section? Breadcrumbs are the best option. Below the main navigation menu, they would see something like:

Home > Furniture > Living Room > Couches > Sectionals

Each of these buttons would be a hyperlink – which would lead them directly back to the page they click. Using breadcrumbs, users can easily explore multiple pages and categories, and never lose their place.

Why Do Breadcrumbs Matter?

Breadcrumbs are an important part of websites – especially eCommerce websites – for a number of reasons. Here are just a few of them.

  1. Lower bounce rates – A “bounce” occurs when a visitor comes to your webpage and leaves without clicking another page. Breadcrumbs can help reduce bounce rates, as users can quickly navigate to a higher-level category or submenu when viewing a single page.

  2. A better mobile navigation experience – Breadcrumbs can be powerful tools for enhancing both desktop and mobile navigation experiences. This is critical, as 67% of mobile users say that they will leave your website if they’re frustrated with their navigation experience.

  3. Better SEO – When properly formatted, breadcrumbs can appear on Google search results, and Google has defined them as one of the things that could help positively impact your SEO rankings.

Breadcrumbs are usually quite simple to implement, small and unobtrusive, and easy to integrate into almost any website. For all of these reasons, it’s a great idea to consider adding breadcrumbs to your website.

Interested In Learning More? Contact Me Right Away!

As an experienced web designer in Edmonton, I can help you learn more about the importance of navigation features like breadcrumbs – and aid you in your website redesign project. To learn more, please contact me online today.

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