Breadcrumbs display a users location within an application hierarchy. They act as a resource to help users navigate more efficiently and provide additional context.
Breadcrumbs do not replace the back button for web applications and should not be used to display how a user navigated. These are location breadcrumbs that help expose the hierarchy, not the particular clicks of a user.
Breadcrumbs are recommended when the primary and secondary navigation items are not always exposed. For example, breadcrumbs will enhance an application that uses vertical navigation or one that uses horizontal navigation where secondary menus are hidden. When using breadcrumbs, be sure to include them on every page throughout the application.
- Primary Navigation Item: The primary navigation item should be the first item listed in the breadcrumb string. If the primary navigation items do not have a landing page, this item should not be listed as a link.
- Icon: The “fa-angle-double-right” Font Awesome icon should be used to separate levels in the breadcrumb string.
- Links: All drill down pages that the user can navigate back to, should be shown as links in the breadcrumb string. The underline should appear when the user hovers over a link.
- Current Location: The end of the breadcrumb string should represent the page a user is currently viewing. This string should not be a link.
- Divider (optional): A horizontal divider may be present below the breadcrumbs depending on the page layout used inside an application. If this format is used, it should be used consistently throughout the application.
Vertical Navigation Example
Horizontal Navigation Example
When secondary navigation items are hidden, breadcrumbs may be used in conjunction with horizontal navigation.
Breadcrumbs Combined with Page Title (Optional)
- Current Location: The end of the breadcrumb can also play the role of page title in an effort to conserve vertical space. This option would include use of a larger font for the end of the breadcrumb string. If this format is used, it should be used consistently throughout the application.
Breadcrumb Switcher (Optional)
The Breadcrumb Switcher provides a shortcut for users to quickly navigate to parallel pages, rather than navigating back to the previous page and making a new selection. In the example below, users can either go back to the “Packages” page to select a new item or they can remain in the details view shown, and use the switcher to jump from one item to the next. The switcher should never appear in the middle of the breadcrumbs. When used, the switcher will appear to the right of the last item in the breadcrumb string.
- Icon: The “fa-exchange” Font Awesome icon should be placed on a button to the right of the breadcrumb string, allowing users to access the Switcher.
- Dropdown List: Clicking the switcher button should open a panel with the list of items parallel to the one displayed on the current page. When an item is selected from the list, users will be navigated to a new page.
- Selected State: The selected state should be visually indicated in the list.
- Search (Optional):
- A search bar can be available at the top of the dropdown list with the “fa-search” icon on the left side of the bar.
- Searching will allow users to narrow down the list of results to display only matching items.
- The matching piece of the results should appear in bold text.
- Note: If the searchable list is paginated in other areas of the application, ideally this search would look across ALL pages to find matching results. For example, in this case all “Packages” should be part of the search.
Example with Breadcrumb Switcher
Example with Breadcrumb Switcher and Page Title