Breadcrumb patterns

The breadcrumbs pattern is a navigation aid for hierarchical content structures (e.g. home > documents > business). It provides information about the current position within the hierarchy, and offers shortcut links to jump to previous positions without using the Back button.

Use of breadcrumb navigation in Plasma Mobile.

When to Use

  • Use a breadcrumb control for orientation and navigation in strictly hierarchical content. Apply other controls like tags for flat or less organized content.
  • Make sure a breadcrumb control has only supportive functions. Don't use it as primary and exclusive navigation pattern.
  • Don't use a breadcrumb control to just identify or label the position; it must be interactive.
  • Don't make the breadcrumb control dynamic by showing the user's past interactions (known as 'path breadcrumbs'). Breadcrumbs should show the hierarchy, not the user's history.

How to Use

  • Link all breadcrumb steps to the appropriate page or position. Show the current position at the very end of the breadcrumb control.
  • Keep breadcrumbs plain and textual; don't use icons or other controls.
  • Place a breadcrumb control above the content area, but below other navigation controls.
  • Don't integrate a breadcrumb control into a toolbar or titlebar.


  • Consider providing a dropdown context menu full of alternative options for each breadcrumb item. But always offer one-click access by default.
  • Think of ways to make the breadcrumb control interactive in other creative ways. For example, it might permit content to be dragged-and-dropped onto a breadcrumb item to quickly move it there.