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Study of breadcrumb navigation

Angela Colter and colleagues have surveyed 4,775 catalog web sites to find out how many implement breadcrumbs and what connector character is used. They then conducted a study with 14 test participants solving tasks at four web-sites that use breadcrumbs.

Some highlights:
- 17% of the web-sites used breadcrumbs
- 47% of those sites used the greater than symbol
- All but one of the participants used the breadcrumbs
- Four used breadcrumbs as a consistent strategy
- Five incorrectly assumed that breadcrumbs indicated either the path they had taken to arrive at the current page or a record of where else on the site they had been
- The users sometimes described the back button as being "safer" to use, because they know what page they came from

They conclude that breadcrumbs are used if a breadcrumb label happens to match what the users is looking for. This suggests that breadcrumbs were not used for orientation or back-tracking, but rather a means of moving forward.

Links:

  • Exploring User Mental Models of Breadcrumbs in Web Navigation Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - May 28, 2006

See also: Research (129)  Navigation (63) 

 

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