What Are Breadcrumbs

What Are Breadcrumbs

Breadcrumbs are nothing but a small text path that’s displayed on the top of the page on your website. It is used as a secondary navigation system to show the user their location. Every step mentioned in the path of the breadcrumb can be redirected with just a click. 

The name Breadcrumb is inspired by the Hansel and Gretel Fairy tale. 

Why use the Breadcrumbs? 

To properly use breadcrumbs you must know the reasons to use them. Here is the list of a few reasons that appeal to you to use breadcrumbs:

  • It acts as navigation support for the user. It tells them where they are and where they can go on the website. 

  • It helps Google work out the Website structure. 

  • It is the source of contextual information for the user. 

  • It inspires the user to browse the website further. 

  • It makes the website more understandable for the users most of them are familiar with breadcrumbs. 

  • It takes minimal space and hence no content overload. 

  • It clearly defines a user’s progress on your page. 

  • The time a user spends on your website depends on how clearly and easily he can navigate your website. Hence, benefits both in sales/service or reach on the Google search engine.

How to use the breadcrumbs? 

The right usage of breadcrumbs is important in order to benefit the user and increase your website’s engagement. 

  • Before you start using breadcrumbs for the website, check the website navigation structure or the site map. 

  • Use symbols or separators to separate the breadcrumb link. 

  • Choose a proper size. 

  • Do not consider it as a replacement for the primary navigation. 

  • Do not make the breadcrumb a focal point of the navigation. It should not be the first thing that holds the user’s attention when landing on a particular page. 

When to use breadcrumbs?

The breadcrumbs are used when the amount of content is large and is arranged in a hierarchical structure and has defined categories. It should not be used for single-level websites like blog sites. 

Types of breadcrumbs

To benefit from using the breadcrumbs one must know the suitable type of breadcrumbs for their website. Breadcrumbs are generally of four different types that are used on various hierarchical and organized websites. 


The Location-based breadcrumbs are used for websites that are multi-levelled. It represents the site structure. It is generally used where the users navigate deeper into the website to either know more information or to get any services. 


The Path-based breadcrumbs are also known as history trails. It shows the entire path travelled by the user on your website to find the information that he needs. Path-based breadcrumb is generally used for dynamic websites. 


As the name suggests, attribute-based breadcrumbs are used for listing a specific page or a product. It can be used to relate the product with the ongoing offer. The offer can be on a different page where the user has to navigate to take the benefit of the offer on the product. 

Hierarchy or history-based breadcrumbs 

Hierarchy or history-based breadcrumbs are generally used only for the hierarchy of the website. Hierarchy breadcrumbs cannot be used for users’ visit history or navigation history. This is generally not used. 

Frequently Asked Questions Breadcrumbs

Here are answers to frequently asked questions on breadcrumbs that you might find useful –

1. When shouldn’t breadcrumbs be used?

For websites with flat hierarchies which are only 1 or 2 levels deep, or websites with a linear layout, breadcrumbs aren’t effective.

2. How do breadcrumbs work?

Breadcrumbs make it easier to find specific pages on a website. Because the site is laid out in a breadcrumb pattern (a minimal single path that leads you step-by-step), is easier to understand. The user does not need to click on the menu to see what navigation options are available. Breadcrumbs increase browsing as a result.

3. What are the two roles of breadcrumb navigation lines?

Today in UX design, there are two main types of breadcrumbs:

  • Location-based: to assist users in recognizing their current location within the site’s structure.

  • Attribute-based: to assist a user in identifying a key quality or attribute of the content (page) they are viewing.

4. Why is it called breadcrumbs?

A “breadcrumb” is named so to signify a path or trail, as it is taken from the fairy tale Hansel and Gretel, in which the two title characters leave breadcrumbs to find their path back home. Similarly, it is used as a secondary navigation method that shows the user’s current location on a website or Web application.

5. Are breadcrumbs necessary?

Breadcrumbs are an important part of an SEO-friendly website because they make navigation easier — that’s what breadcrumbs are for, and it’s why users like them. They encourage users to visit more pages of a website before leaving, thus lowering the bounce rate.

You might be also interested to know What is Meta Description and SEO.