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The breadcrumb element is a secondary navigation pattern that shows hierarchy among content.


Breadcrumb is a one-line navigational element that supports wayfinding: it aids the users in finding their current location within the hierarchical structure of a website. Breadcrumb navigation is a good choice in terms of usability because it never causes problems in user testing and takes up very little space on the page.


Use when

  • You need to inform the user where they are in the hierarchy of the site.
  • The user needs to navigate back to a higher level page.
  • The application has a complex, multi-layer architecture that’s more than 2 levels deep.

Don’t use when

  • Primary navigation is needed instead. Breadcrumbs are always treated as secondary and should never replace primary navigation.
  • Employing a vertical model tree component.
  • If a lower-level page is (or can be put) in more than one parent category.
  • You want to show the user’s history.
  • Your product has a flat hierarchy that’s only 1 or 2 levels deep.
What's changed
Date Version Notes Contributors
04/08/2021 1.0.1 More guidance added based on best practices. J. Wittmeyer
11/23/2020 1.0.0 Accessible option added. E. Bohn, L. Kause, N. Springer