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Know Your Tech: Breadcrumbs
A trail of breadcrumbs can be a useful thing, whether you’re using it like Hansel and Gretel to find their way back home, or you’re using it in computing to find your way back to a page you were previously on. Today’s tech term is dedicated to the latter.
What is Breadcrumb Navigation?
As per the aforementioned fairy tale, breadcrumb navigation consists of a path leading home. In this case, home is the homepage. With breadcrumb navigation, you can more easily keep track of how you got to the current web page you’re on, as well as the path back to the home page. This path can typically be viewed at the top of the page. Each step includes a link that navigates back to a specific page.
Let’s say that you’re looking at a service page on a website. If the path you took leads back to the home page, you’ll see all of the pages in between in the breadcrumbs menu. For the sake of this example, let’s say the pages in between are the second menu item and the fifth menu item. It would look something like this:
Home > [Menu 2] > [Menu Item 5]
Since these breadcrumbs are links, you can click on any one of them to be brought back to that page. This lets you continue browsing with minimal chance of getting lost on the site trying to backtrack.
More Than Just Websites
You might notice that this navigation style is similar to the ones used in toolbars in file folders or files saved on your desktop. The reason is the same--it makes finding certain files easier at a later date. The location can also be shared with others who need to know where it is.
Breadcrumbs are typically meant for helping users with browsing and organization. Are there any other features out there you can think of that do the same thing? Let us know in the comments.