Forum OpenACS Development: Response to Breadcrumb trail service?

Posted by Bruno Mattarollo on

Taken from Jakob Nielsen's website:

Structural Navigation

Do not link to all sections of the site from all pages. What is the probability that a user will go from looking at hairdryers to looking at grunge music? More to the point: what is the probability that the user will need the link on the one day in human history when he or she wants to make this transition. Why not just go back to the home page (one click to a page that is already cached and thus displays in half a second if coded correctly).

Instead, provide links to all levels of the hierarchy above the current location. Breadcrumb trails serve two purposes:

  • the context of the current page (how it is nested) allows users to interpret the page better (you don't just know that you are looking at product 354, you also know that it belongs to the widget product family)
  • the links allow users to go directly to a higher level of the site in case the current page is not what they wanted, but they do want something similar

True, users will often ignore the structural links, but sometimes they will notice them, especially when they are interested in understanding a page better. Without structural links, pages become orphans that are not contextualized. And since users often arrive at pages through search or other means that bypass the higher-level navigation pages, it is necessary to provide a path back to these higher levels. In particular, it is useful to link to a page that provides an overview of the current subsite or region.

Just my 2 cents.