Breadcrumb trail at the bottom of the browser window

5 Aug 2008 - 8:23am
964 reads
Fredrik Matheson

Inspired by the recent Cuil discussion I've made a breadcrumb trail that's
always visible at the bottom of your browser window.
I'm testing it on an intranet where:

• users spend anywhere from five minutes to several hours every day

• there are thousands of pages in many folders, etc

• the built-in navigation scheme isn't always consistent, due to different
products/portals/systems being used

Lessons so far:

• with just one consistent navigation item at the bottom of the viewport,
it's easier to leave out all those top, left and right menus and concentrate
on making stuff in the middle of the page do its job

• since it's at the bottom of the page, it's not in the way and you can
easily ignore it until you need to use it

• long breadcrumb trails can either be truncated, or you can use the entire
window width for the trail. The latter doesn't always look great.

• it might be an "expert" tool, in the sense that it adds value for frequent
users without making things more difficult for novices

• low contrast keeps the trail it "invisible" when not in use. onMouseOver,
contrast increases to illustrate what can be clicked on

• onMouseOver display of menu choices for each item in the trail was tested,
but I've left it out for now to keep things simple

• I would have liked to see a breadcrumb trail that was easy to implement
across multiple products/portals/systems, but hey, I can dream, can't I? :-)

I'm sure others on this list have implemented something like this. I'd love
to hear how you solved it.

- Fredrik

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