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In a recent thread a reader asked what they are ad someone explained and typed out a example.


So what is it really? Think of Hansel and Grettel leaving bread crumbs to help them track their movements.


Breadcrumb navigation is the same. It helpes you track your position in the navigation scheme.


Example for a school would be: Home > Classes > 1982 > 7b

This would be Home page lead to Classes lead to the year and in the case of a German school that usually has more than one class, class 7b. If what I want is to here I see I can back track to 1982 and chose a different class, or backtrack to 1983 and check class 7b.


So the Bread crumb is a trail that allows you to backtrack logically to higher instances, so if your navigation has different sub levels under different menu items, it can be a useful tool to offer the user.



It is really not tested or standard yet. Many visual surfers do not notice it or know what to do with it.


Visually impaired people seem to be in two groups, Those who do not understand what it is and those who do and can use it, but some who know what it is find it hard to deal with still. So the final call on whether it is useful in accessibility or a hindrance is not out yet, seems close to equal right now.


Also the choice of separators should be considered. Most often seen is > which acts as a visual arrow in the direction. But this symbol has a semantic meaning, "Greater than". So a screenreader would usually read "Home greater than classes greater than 1982 greater than 7b".


Some argue that even that makes some sense as each level is less important that the previous.


Other opinions are a colon (:) is better and suggests a menu while still others choose to use the | key which visually compares to the line separators often used.


But fact is > when considered wrong by some is so widespread that many visually impaired are used to it even though it may not be the best choice, it has become a form of default set by visual people but now do to it's widespread use accepted by the visually impaired.


At this time their is no right or wrong answer, just opinions. I myself have not totally decided yet as to which I will use as standard, but currently tend towards "|".

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