Web Design

Breadcrumb Navigation in Web Design: Guideline & Best Practices

Breadcrumbs are a secondary navigation tool that makes it simple for visitors to comprehend how their position on a page (such as a product page) relates to higher-level pages (a category page, for instance). The phrase is taken from the Hansel and Gretel story, in which the children leave a trail of breadcrumbs to find their way home. With breadcrumbs, you can find your way back or go back a few steps and start again if you end yourself on a page you don’t want to be on.

The navigation of a web design is vital to its success because it affects how quickly users can find the information they need and how user-friendly it is. Today’s website navigation options range from classic horizontal menus to hamburger icons (popular on fantastic mobile websites), lightbox menus, and more, depending on your site’s functional and aesthetic requirements.

In this article, we’ll discuss breadcrumb navigation in Web Design in detail, the Advantages of breadcrumbsthe types of Breadcrumbs in a web design, when you should or should not use Breadcrumbs in a web Design and the best practices for adding them to your design. Related Article: Useful VS Code Extensions.

What are HTML breadcrumbs and how are they made?

Breadcrumb navigation in HTML indicates the user’s present location inside a website and provides links to each previous page they have navigated through.

Let’s look at how to create a basic breadcrumb in HTML. ​

  1. Add a few things to an HTML list (ordered or not), all of which should be links
  2. Give the list and list items a class
  3. Now arrange them in a line. Add a background and change the text’s basic formatting
  4. Include separators
  5. Complete your breadcrumb trail
  6. You have prepared HTML breadcrumbs

When Should you use breadcrumbs in your Web Design?

Primary navigation for top-level pages and categories should always be present when creating a website, typically in the header.

Primary navigation links and website menus acquaint users with your site’s content and make it easier for them to find areas, even if you create a single-page website. Although it’s not always necessary, breadcrumb navigation can enhance user experience.

For the following important reason, you might add breadcrumb navigation to your website:

  • They’re significant: because they let consumers know exactly where they are about your website’s navigational structure.
  • They improve the website visitor’s experience: these tie into the preceding argument. The user experience is made more accessible by knowing where they are on a website and having the option to return to a previous page or category.
  • They are undetectable: they don’t take up much room on your website. That’s unquestionably advantageous, exceptionally when persuading customers to convert to essential regions.
  • They genuinely don’t cause problems: Nielsen Norman Group claims that breadcrumbs are infallible. Users never experience any problems utilizing them, even if they sometimes go unnoticed.

Types of Breadcrumbs in a Web Design

Breadcrumbs based on location, path, or property. These are:

    1. Location-based: 23467890-site structures can be seen via location-based breadcrumbs. They aid users in comprehending and navigating the hierarchy, which has various levels, on your website (usually more than two levels). Visitors who enter the site on a deeper level from an external source will find this form of breadcrumb to be quite helpful (e.g. search engine results).
    2. Path Based: Breadcrumbs based on a user’s path (sometimes called “history trails”) display the user’s whole route through a page. Usually, a link of this type is produced dynamically. Breadcrumbs that follow a specific path can prove helpful, but they are often confusing because users frequently hop from one website to another when browsing. The user doesn’t benefit from having such a wandering path, which the “Back” button may easily substitute on the browser.
    3. Attribute-Based: An attribute-based breadcrumb provides the categories that lead to a specific page or, most often, a product; this sort of breadcrumb is helpful for e-commerce websites. These breadcrumbs provide a fresh view and aid visitors in understanding the connections between the products.

Advantages of Breadcrumbs in Web Design?

Breadcrumbs have been a mainstay of web design for a while, and a good reason. The following are a few of the main advantages:

  • They provide users with an easy way to quickly determine where they are in the content of your website.
  • They make it simpler for consumers to return to sites with more advanced content.
  • They are advantageous for SEO. Internal linking is encouraged via breadcrumb navigation, enabling search engines to comprehend how your site is organised.
  • They aid in lowering bounce. If a person arrives at your website from a lower-level page but isn’t quite where they need to be, they might use breadcrumbs to navigate to more appropriate material rather than leaving right away.
  • They aid in lengthening visitors’ stays on your website. Users may spend more time on your site by browsing similar material more simply with the help of breadcrumbs. Related Article, Best CSS Practices for Beginners.

Best Practices for Breadcrumb Navigation in Web Design

Keep the following in mind when creating breadcrumb navigation. Breadcrumb navigation is a different tool to enhance your consumers’ experience on your site.

A navigational aid in the form of breadcrumbs is best to think of breadcrumb navigation as an added feature rather than a replacement for reliable primary navigation menus. Remember that it’s a convenience feature, a backup navigation system, and an additional way to explore your website.

1: The current page shouldn’t be linked in the breadcrumb navigation

If you display the current user’s position as the last item in the breadcrumb trail, make sure it cannot be clicked or touched. Including a link to the current page in the breadcrumb navigation is unnecessary, as users are already on the page.

2: Utilize Separators

The “greater than” symbol (>), which is used to separate links in breadcrumb trails, is the most well-known. The > symbol is used to indicate hierarchy, as shown in the format Parent category > Child category. Other symbols include slashes (/), right angle quote marks (»), and arrows pointing to the right (). The decision is based on the site’s aesthetics and the type of breadcrumb being used.

3: Pick your size and padding

When creating, consider the target size and padding carefully. There needs to be enough space between each level of the breadcrumb trail. If not, users could find it challenging to use them, particularly on a mobile interface. The breadcrumbs should be less noticeable than the main navigation menu because you don’t want them to take over the page.

4: Place the Crumbs at the Top

The top of a website has typically a navigation bar. Breadcrumbs should be positioned above the content because they serve as a secondary navigation tool. Users anticipate finding breadcrumbs at the top of the page, according to user testing conducted by the Nielsen Norman group. Breadcrumbs should place above the page title and the main navigation bar.

5: Please don’t make it the centerpiece of the layout

The central concept of using breadcrumb navigation will be defeated, if you utilize fancy fonts or vivid colours. When a person arrives at a website, the breadcrumb navigation shouldn’t be the first thing that catches their eye.

When Should Breadcrumbs not be used?

This is challenging because, for the most part, breadcrumbs are harmless. Though there is a warning, breadcrumbs might not be helpful if your website merely has a few pages and few levels of structure. In some situations, providing breadcrumbs is superfluous and could lead to reader confusion.

Breadcrumbs are still not widely regarded as a best practice, despite being around for more than ten years. There are numerous ones, including:

  • People are still unsure if the effort is worthwhile: It’s not a make-or-break feature. There is no debate.
  • Some believe that breadcrumbs are only “essential” if your information architecture is disorganized. Users can navigate your website without you having to show them where they are if it is easy for them to do so. In short, this school of thought regards breadcrumbs as a backup plan if your architectural design is flawed. Therefore, they argue, why not improve your information hierarchy instead of spending time and effort on Breadcrumbs?


If the site’s content and overall structure make sense, the only thing those breadcrumbs accomplish is to make it simpler for users to navigate the site. It’s one of the few specific things that improve user comfort and the website experience. And it’s a good contribution for something that only takes up one line in the design.

Related Articles