Seeing Breadcrumb Navigation Examined (via The Hot Strudel) reminded me that I’d been meaning to write a post about breadcrumb trails for a while now. The post contains a quite survey of various uses of breadcrumbs. It’s worth a peek.
First of all, here’s what I conclude about breadcrumbs in DWN:
Since then, however, I’ve been see new, innovative uses of breadcrumb trails. In particular, they can be part of the main navigation, as with WalMart:
Or, with the German site www.manufaktum.de the breadcrumb trail is the main navigation:
Unlike WalMart, Manufaktum also allows for direct access to other levels of the nodes of the hierarchy represented in the breadcrumb via a dynamic menu (aka fly-out menu), shown in the image above (open for Leuchten).
Overall, this provides both a great deal of focus to navigation–the breadcrumb shows a single path–but also provides access to the entire site from a single mechanism. Here the breadcrumb isn’t a supplemental type of navigation, but instead is recast as a primary navigation means.
So maybe breadcrumbs aren’t just quite dead yet. It really depends on how they are implemented. Perhaps we’ll see even more innovative uses of the mechanism in the future.