Bread crumb or left navigation (or both)?

3 Mar 2009 - 7:40am
5 years ago
5 replies
686 reads
johan.dermaut a...
2006

Hello,

A website has a left navigation and a bread crumb. The left navigation is an exact copy of the bread crumb (or the other way around). They both take up valuable real estate on the screen.

My idea would be to do away with the bread crumb because the visitor sees at any moment where exactly (s)he is in the website in the left navigation. By eliminating the bread crumb, the amount of "real content" would increase by 10% and people would have to scroll less and less frequently.

Do you guys agree?

Thanks in advance.

Johan
**** DISCLAIMER ****
http://www.belgacom.be/maildisclaimer

Comments

3 Mar 2009 - 8:16am
Renee Rosen-Wakeford
2008

Hi Johan,

I usually argue to include breadcrumb trails, since they don't take up much
space and those who do use them find them useful. Also, they're useful for
very complex sites that have more levels than can be normally displayed at
once in a left hand navigation.

It doesn't sound like your site has that many levels, so if they duplicate
each other exactly and the site's a fairly simple one, then you can probably
be OK without them. I just wonder what kind of design treatment they are
getting where they take up 10% of the depth of the screen. Most breadcrumb
trails are designed in a small font and don't really increase the amount of
scrolling.

As much as I disagree with him on other issues, Nielsen has a pretty good
article about the use of breadcrumbs and why they're good to add:

http://www.useit.com/alertbox/breadcrumbs.html

As usual, a lot of what he says is somewhat obvious, but I thought it was
interesting that he said that users were starting to look for breadcrumbs
and that Vista uses them, so users will start to expect them more and more.

Renée

On Tue, Mar 3, 2009 at 1:40 PM, <johan.dermaut at belgacom.be> wrote:

>
>
> Hello,
>
> A website has a left navigation and a bread crumb. The left navigation is
> an exact copy of the bread crumb (or the other way around). They both take
> up valuable real estate on the screen.
>
> My idea would be to do away with the bread crumb because the visitor sees
> at any moment where exactly (s)he is in the website in the left navigation.
> By eliminating the bread crumb, the amount of "real content" would increase
> by 10% and people would have to scroll less and less frequently.
>
> Do you guys agree?
>
> Thanks in advance.
>
> Johan
> **** DISCLAIMER ****
> http://www.belgacom.be/maildisclaimer
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

--
Renée Rosen-Wakeford
reneerw at gmail.com
Twitter: @lilitu93

3 Mar 2009 - 10:50am
Hugh Griffith
2007

Why not eliminate both and use a horizontal navigation?

Otherwise, I would eliminate the breadcrumb. (Don't make me think!)

Hugh Griffith
User Interface Designer

On Tue, Mar 3, 2009 at 7:16 AM, Renee Rosen-Wakeford <reneerw at gmail.com>wrote:

> Hi Johan,
>
> I usually argue to include breadcrumb trails, since they don't take up much
> space and those who do use them find them useful. Also, they're useful for
> very complex sites that have more levels than can be normally displayed at
> once in a left hand navigation.
>
> It doesn't sound like your site has that many levels, so if they duplicate
> each other exactly and the site's a fairly simple one, then you can
> probably
> be OK without them. I just wonder what kind of design treatment they are
> getting where they take up 10% of the depth of the screen. Most breadcrumb
> trails are designed in a small font and don't really increase the amount of
> scrolling.
>
> As much as I disagree with him on other issues, Nielsen has a pretty good
> article about the use of breadcrumbs and why they're good to add:
>
> http://www.useit.com/alertbox/breadcrumbs.html
>
> As usual, a lot of what he says is somewhat obvious, but I thought it was
> interesting that he said that users were starting to look for breadcrumbs
> and that Vista uses them, so users will start to expect them more and more.
>
> Renée
>
> On Tue, Mar 3, 2009 at 1:40 PM, <johan.dermaut at belgacom.be> wrote:
>
> >
> >
> > Hello,
> >
> > A website has a left navigation and a bread crumb. The left navigation is
> > an exact copy of the bread crumb (or the other way around). They both
> take
> > up valuable real estate on the screen.
> >
> > My idea would be to do away with the bread crumb because the visitor sees
> > at any moment where exactly (s)he is in the website in the left
> navigation.
> > By eliminating the bread crumb, the amount of "real content" would
> increase
> > by 10% and people would have to scroll less and less frequently.
> >
> > Do you guys agree?
> >
> > Thanks in advance.
> >
> > Johan
> > **** DISCLAIMER ****
> > http://www.belgacom.be/maildisclaimer
> > ________________________________________________________________
> > Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> > To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> > Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> > List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> > List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
> >
>
>
>
> --
> Renée Rosen-Wakeford
> reneerw at gmail.com
> Twitter: @lilitu93
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

3 Mar 2009 - 3:49pm
Jared M. Spool
2003

On Mar 3, 2009, at 8:40 AM, <johan.dermaut at belgacom.be> <johan.dermaut at belgacom.be
> wrote:

> A website has a left navigation and a bread crumb. The left
> navigation is an exact copy of the bread crumb (or the other way
> around). They both take up valuable real estate on the screen.
>
> My idea would be to do away with the bread crumb because the visitor
> sees at any moment where exactly (s)he is in the website in the left
> navigation. By eliminating the bread crumb, the amount of "real
> content" would increase by 10% and people would have to scroll less
> and less frequently.
>
> Do you guys agree?

Hi Johan,

I'd watch users and see if they use either. I'd be willing to bet they
don't.

Wrote about this in more depth when I suggested that Breadcrumbs (and
their ilk) are basically a design cop-out: http://www.uie.com/articles/breadcrumbs/

Hope that helps,

Jared

Jared M. Spool
User Interface Engineering
510 Turnpike St., Suite 102, North Andover, MA 01845
e: jspool at uie.com p: +1 978 327 5561
http://uie.com Blog: http://uie.com/brainsparks Twitter: jmspool
UIE Web App Summit, 4/19-4/22: http://webappsummit.com

3 Mar 2009 - 10:23am
sreeramen ramaswamy
2008

hello,

I can see your point of saving pixels. I have been in situations where
the clients want to pack in so much and also don't want to have a
scroll. the way content can be laid out can help to deal with the real
estate issue. you can work with your design team on that.

however there are discussion about merits of breadcrumbs. Usability
tests have revealed that breadcrumbs are not observed by novice users.
while once a user becomes aware of them then it helps in navigating
back and forward efficiently. However if it is a complex site and has
deep navigation is it going to list all the steps can be the next
questions.

given the users have become lazy due to evolution in search the whole
idea of browsing through a site is gone for a toss. the issues that
need consideration would be are all your pages read by the search
engine. what happens if a user comes to the page using google/yahoo
search...what path are you going to show in the bread crumbs. if you
are using ajax you need to be careful that a page may not be indexed
by the search engines.

Given the whole picture of a product requirement, a careful compromise
is required. Make a decision based on the complete requirement. may be
tomorrow you would need a div that opens up and contains information
for a logged in user.

there are ways to design clear navigation. Apart from placement left,
top, or right you can consider grouping, color associations, shallow
architecture, interaction behaviors loaded based on context like the
softkeys in a mobile phone and so on.

thanks,
Ram

On Tue, Mar 3, 2009 at 7:10 PM, <johan.dermaut at belgacom.be> wrote:
>
>
> Hello,
>
> A website has a left navigation and a bread crumb. The left navigation is an exact copy of the bread crumb (or the other way around). They both take up valuable real estate on the screen.
>
> My idea would be to do away with the bread crumb because the visitor sees at any moment where exactly (s)he is in the website in the left navigation. By eliminating the bread crumb, the amount of  "real content" would increase by 10% and people would have to scroll less and less frequently.
>
> Do you guys agree?
>
> Thanks in advance.
>
> Johan
> **** DISCLAIMER ****
> http://www.belgacom.be/maildisclaimer
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

4 Mar 2009 - 7:06am
Jared M. Spool
2003

This is something I happen to know quite a bit about, being that it's
been a primary focus of our for the last 12 years.

On Mar 3, 2009, at 11:23 AM, sreeramen ramaswamy wrote:

> however there are discussion about merits of breadcrumbs. Usability
> tests have revealed that breadcrumbs are not observed by novice users.
> while once a user becomes aware of them then it helps in navigating
> back and forward efficiently.

This statement isn't really accurate. Longitudinal studies repeatedly
show that infrequent users (which are often mistakenly referred to as
"novice" even though "novice" really reflects expertise in the domain)
rarely change their navigation behaviors through repeated use of the
site. They keep interacting with the site as though its their first
time, regardless of number of visits.

Frequent users (users who regularly visit sites more than once in a 48
hour period -- think a site like Basecamp or GMail) do adopt more
efficient behaviors, but only on those sites where the efficient
behaviors are not designed into the default behaviors. I'd argue that
on a well-designed site, the initial behaviors would be the most
efficient, thus rendering the difference between so-called novice and
expert use irrelevant.

Inotherwords, make it a good design from the start and you don't have
to worry about this.

> given the users have become lazy due to evolution in search the whole
> idea of browsing through a site is gone for a toss.

There is no evidence to support that any behavioral changes in people
have occurred because of the prevalence of search engines. In 12
years, the basic behavior patterns have remained identical.

> the issues that
> need consideration would be are all your pages read by the search
> engine. what happens if a user comes to the page using google/yahoo
> search...what path are you going to show in the bread crumbs.

Breadcrumbs would be little help to search engines. The crawlers
traverse the site hierarchically and, therefore, the breadcrumb links
would be pages they'd already visited.

A well-designed site, both from a usability and an SEO perspective,
will offer clear links to the critical pages. A well-designed site for
users will automatically have great optimization for search.

> if you
> are using ajax you need to be careful that a page may not be indexed
> by the search engines.

Again, I feel this is an inaccurate statement. Well-designed ajax
implementations use progressive enhancement (http://www.uie.com/articles/hijax/
) which will optimize just fine.

Hope this clears up some confusion.

Jared

Jared M. Spool
User Interface Engineering
510 Turnpike St., Suite 102, North Andover, MA 01845
e: jspool at uie.com p: +1 978 327 5561
http://uie.com Blog: http://uie.com/brainsparks Twitter: jmspool
UIE Web App Summit, 4/19-4/22: http://webappsummit.com

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