Tutorial 27: The Care and Feeding of Hyperlinks, Part III - HTML with Style | 7
Breadcrumbs offer the user a depth-wise view of a site's tree structure; this means that they show the user what lies between the top of the tree and the current page. In addition to this, it's important to give the user a breadth-wise view of the current part of the tree, showing him what pages are adjacent to the current one.
This is first accomplished by giving the user links to the next and previous documents in a series, but if the documents he is navigating through right now are not in a specific order, it is much more useful to list all of the current page's siblings on one line.
So in the book example above, you might want to provide links to all the chapters in the current section so that the user can find the chapter he's looking for. These links are used by the reader to "fine-tune" his position, and are most useful at the top of the page; they're for the people who haven't found the exact page they were looking for and are looking for similar pages close to it.
In addition, you'll probably want the major sections of your entire site visible as well. So in this case, you'll probably want to have links to the various sections of the book. These links are most useful for people who are done with the current page and are looking for something else in the site, and will probably go a long way up in the hierarchy. Hence, links such as these are most useful at the bottom of a page.
As always, the above are only rough guidelines, and depend mostly on the size and organization of your site. If your site has a very "deep" structure, like WebReference.com, you'll be interested in offering a lot of links to various sections in various places in the hierarchy. If your site is "shallow," like a search engine which primarily consists of a query page and a result page, you'll need fewer links.
Produced by Stephanos Piperoglou
Created: October 31, 2000
Revised: November 1, 2000