Breadcrumbs in Web Design: What They Are and Why They Matter

May 01, 2023

In the world of web design, 'breadcrumbs' might conjure up images of a fairy tale trail. However, in reality, they're a critical navigational tool that enhances user experience and boosts SEO. But what exactly are breadcrumbs in web design, and why should your website incorporate them? Let's dive in.

What are Breadcrumbs in Web Design?

Breadcrumbs are a secondary navigation system that reveals the user's location in a website or web application. The term comes from the Hansel and Gretel fairy tale where the main characters create a trail of breadcrumbs to track their journey.

In the digital world, breadcrumbs work similarly. They provide a trail for the user to follow back to the starting or entry point of a website. They usually appear at the top of a webpage, providing a clickable trail of links that typically start from the home page and end with the current page.

Types of Breadcrumbs

  1. Location Breadcrumbs: These indicate where the user is within the site's structure. They're particularly useful for websites with multiple levels of content hierarchy.
  2. Attribute Breadcrumbs: Commonly seen on e-commerce websites, these show the attributes of the current page. For example, a page for a black, leather jacket might show: Home > Jackets > Leather > Black.
  3. History Breadcrumbs: These display the path users have taken to arrive at a particular page, similar to how a web browser history works.

Why are Breadcrumbs Important in Web Design?

Enhanced User Experience: Breadcrumbs enhance usability by providing a clear path back to previous website sections. They help users understand the layout of your website and navigate it more effectively.

Improved SEO: Breadcrumbs also benefit your website's SEO. Search engines like Google understand breadcrumb trails, which can help in categorizing information and improving your website's search ranking.

Reduced Bounce Rates: By providing an easy navigational tool, you can encourage users to explore your website more thoroughly, reducing your bounce rate (the rate at which visitors leave your site after viewing only one page).

How to Implement Breadcrumbs

Most website content management systems (CMS), like WordPress, offer plugins or built-in options to easily add breadcrumbs to your site. It's important, however, to ensure they're implemented in a way that is beneficial to both users and search engines.


Breadcrumbs in web design might seem minor, but they can have a significant impact on user experience and SEO. By providing this 'digital trail', you make your website more user-friendly and potentially improve your search engine rankings. As with all elements of web design, the key is to keep your users' needs at the forefront, creating an intuitive and enjoyable online experience.

Interested in incorporating breadcrumbs into your web design? Get in touch with the team at KC Web Design today, and let's start enhancing your online presence!

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