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  1. #1
    SitePoint Wizard DoubleDee's Avatar
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    Pretty URL's and Breadcrumbs

    If my website has "Pretty URL's" like this...

    http://local.debbie/finance/articles/postage-meters-can-save-you-money

    ...then is there any benefit in also having a "Breadcrumb" above the Article itself?


    (See Screenshot)
    << SP Upload is broken again...>>



    Debbie

  2. #2
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    It depends.

    I am not too keen on seeing excessive breadcrumb trails and especially any that represent only a couple of levels. Like Home / you are here. And every level clearly needs to point to a real page rather than represent a construct in a URI.

    They have a mixed response from testers, too, in my experience. The general consensus, in so much as it exists, is that they often find pages with breadcrumbs to be too chatty, with little added value other than signposting, and duplication of links that are already there. So the main benefit is the signposting, and that is the point at which we get back to levels. It depends a lot upon the IA (information architecture).

    If a complex site requires a deep IA (and it really has to be justified), then a breadcrumb system helps. If you build a set of related pages under a parent page, then it may help somewhat.

    And that's without even getting to issues of HTML and ARIA.

  3. #3
    SitePoint Wizard DoubleDee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mat30 View Post
    It depends.

    I am not too keen on seeing excessive breadcrumb trails and especially any that represent only a couple of levels. Like Home / you are here. And every level clearly needs to point to a real page rather than represent a construct in a URI.

    They have a mixed response from testers, too, in my experience. The general consensus, in so much as it exists, is that they often find pages with breadcrumbs to be too chatty, with little added value other than signposting, and duplication of links that are already there. So the main benefit is the signposting, and that is the point at which we get back to levels. It depends a lot upon the IA (information architecture).

    If a complex site requires a deep IA (and it really has to be justified), then a breadcrumb system helps. If you build a set of related pages under a parent page, then it may help somewhat.

    And that's without even getting to issues of HTML and ARIA.
    Don't you think this is self-explanatory enough...

    http://local.debbie/finance/articles/postage-meters-can-save-you-money


    Also, isn't this clear enough...

    Attachment 61774 (Screenshot #1)

    Attachment 61773 (Screenshot #2)


    It may be nice, but I think Breadcrumbs require an *enormous* amount of work, and considering that I have double my development time already using mod_rewrite to make things logical, the need for Breadcrumbs is borderline insulting...

    Sincerely,


    Debbie

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    I do not think that there was any need to quote me, given that my comment is right above your response, but never mind.

    I would like to ask what you mean by "Don't you think this is self-explanatory enough": firstly, that comes over as rather aggressive; secondly, it reads as though you misunderstood the essence of my entire answer. I am happy to help anyone, but not those who seem to be firing terse questions back, possibly before understanding my advice. Please clarify, ideally with a more polite tone and I will be happy to help.

  5. #5
    SitePoint Wizard DoubleDee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mat30 View Post
    I do not think that there was any need to quote me, given that my comment is right above your response, but never mind.
    Well, since they don't charge by the word here at SP, I was just trying to be clear to whom I was replying.


    I would like to ask what you mean by "Don't you think this is self-explanatory enough": firstly, that comes over as rather aggressive; secondly, it reads as though you misunderstood the essence of my entire answer.
    You misunderstood.

    It meant, "If I have a Pretty URL that clearly spells out the path to the page someone is on, and clearly shows the Information Architecture, and pretty much would be echoed by a Breadcrumb, then what extra value would a Breadcrumb provide? (None, really.)"

    (My comment had nothing to do with anything in your previous comments...)


    I am happy to help anyone, but not those who seem to be firing terse questions back, possibly before understanding my advice. Please clarify, ideally with a more polite tone and I will be happy to help.
    You're personalizing a comment that had nothing to do with you or your comments.

    All I was saying is that I don't see where a Breadcrumb adds much value over my already pretty-well-thought-out URL...


    Debbie

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by DoubleDee View Post
    If I have a Pretty URL that clearly spells out the path to the page someone is on, and clearly shows the Information Architecture, and pretty much would be echoed by a Breadcrumb, then what extra value would a Breadcrumb provide?
    I'd say that most users either have no understanding of URL structures, if they are even aware of them at all, so don't fall into the trap of looking at this from a developer's point of view. (I rarely talk to clients about URLs, because it's too much work to explain to them what they are. Generally they are unaware of them, to a greater or lesser extent.)

    That said, unless you have a deep site structure, I wouldn't bother with breadcrumbs. Highlighting the section you are in in the menu is a good option, I think, as you showed in the second screen shot.

  7. #7
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    It pays to take care with phrasing. Anyway. Obviously, we are in the accessibility forum, so I was and still am assuming some accessibility perspective to your question. With that in mind, your query about the URI structure being clear or not made me wonder "clear to whom?". From an accessibility perspective, the single biggest potential user group who might find breadcrumbs helpful will not be guided by URI structure. And that user group was, quite naturally, the thrust of my advice. The essence of which is that breadcrumbs only really have value in certain particular situations, yet breadcrumbs are very often overused.

  8. #8
    SitePoint Wizard DoubleDee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ralph.m View Post
    I'd say that most users either have no understanding of URL structures, if they are even aware of them at all, so don't fall into the trap of looking at this from a developer's point of view. (I rarely talk to clients about URLs, because it's too much work to explain to them what they are. Generally they are unaware of them, to a greater or lesser extent.)

    That said, unless you have a deep site structure, I wouldn't bother with breadcrumbs. Highlighting the section you are in in the menu is a good option, I think, as you showed in the second screen shot.
    So when would I cross a threshold to where Breadcrumbs would be needed or justifiable?

    For example, what constitutes a "deep site structure"?

    Oh, BTW, I see SitePoint uses Breadcrumbs. Is this because that feature came along for free - along with the *broken* upload feature - or was there a real need for Breadcrumbs here at SitePoint?

    Sincerely,


    Debbie

  9. #9
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    ralph.m's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DoubleDee View Post
    what constitutes a "deep site structure"?
    I suppose three levels deep or more, though I've never used them. I prefer each level of a site to have its own menu, so that you can see where you are in the site via the menu itself, although I don't do sites with a lot of levels.

    The forum breadcrumb functionality comes with the CSM that's used—VB.

  10. #10
    SitePoint Wizard Stomme poes's Avatar
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    One place I would always use breadcrumbs (and this doesn't apply to you Debbie as your site's not this type, right?) is e-commerce. And they generally should NOT follow URL structure, unless your URL structure follows product category structure without too much fuddle in the URLs.

    I also argue for a breadcrumb-like checkout-step thing that shows, on each step of checkout, where you are and how many steps are left (along with the first page stating what all is needed to checkout, which payment methods are allowed, and what the total cost before shipping is... cost with shipping is better if there's some sane default that most users would choose).

    In e-commerce it doesn't need to be a deep structure to have breadcrumbs be nice. People who don't need them ignore them, since they're generally not in the way or any kind of cognitive burden or anything.

    Quote Originally Posted by Debbie
    It may be nice, but I think Breadcrumbs require an *enormous* amount of work,
    One thing I like about our current back-end framework is how it has a python module that can use the existing tree structure already built up in the framework to make breadcrumbs for us. It's really handy. I don't know what you're using now, but if it's a pre-made something-something, see if there's a module or script that can make your breadcrumbs (with sane URLs) which may let you choose to use them if their difficultly is making you consider not having them at all. Increasing developer workload can be a valid reason not to have a feature, but if your users would *really* benefit from them, take some time to look around and see if something can make that happen for you.

  11. #11
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    John_Betong's Avatar
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    The thread was of interest because I have similar URLs and do not have breadcrumbs so decided to have a go

    // jbBreadCrimbs($url, $spacer);
    PHP Code:
    <?php 
    defined
    ('_SPACER') ?: define('_SPACER''&nbsp;  &nbsp;');

    function 
    jb_breadCrumbs($url$spacer _SPACER)
    {
      
    $result  '';

      
    # cheated with a KLUDGE  :)
      
    $aKLUDGE = array('?''=');
      
    $url     str_replace($aKLUDGE'/'$url); 
      
    $urlStr  parse_url($urlPHP_URL_PATH);
      
    $aTmp    parse_url($url);
      
    $host    $aTmp['host'];

      
    $home    '<a href="http://' .$host .'">home</a>';
      
    $result .= $home;

      
    // parse $url and display each link
      
    $urX   ''
      
    $links explode('/'$urlStr);
      foreach(
    $links as $link):
        if( ! empty(
    $link) ):
          
    $urX    .= '/' .$link
          
    $result .= $spacer;
          
    $result .= '<a href="http://' .$host .$urX .'">' .$link .'</a>';
        endif;
      endforeach;

      return 
    $result;
    }
    #

      
    $urlDebby  'http://local.debbie/finance/articles/postage-meters-can-save-you-money';
      
    $urlThread 'http://www.sitepoint.com/forums/showthread.php?1012952-Pretty-URL-s-and-Breadcrumbs&p=5370902#post5370902';
      
    $tests = array 
      (
        
    'Hard-coded test Debby Site'   => $urlDebby,
        
    'Hard-coded test This Thread'  => $urlThread,
        
    '$_SERVER["PATH_INFO"]'      => 'http://localhost' .$_SERVER["PATH_INFO"],
        
    '$_SERVER["REQUEST_URI"]'   => 'http://localhost' .$_SERVER["REQUEST_URI"],
      );

      echo 
    '<dl style="width:1200px">';
          foreach(
    $tests as $test => $url):
            echo 
    '<dt>"' .$test .'</dt>';
            echo 
    '<dd>$url => ' .$url .'</dd>';
            echo 
    '<dd>' .jb_breadCrumbs($url) .'</dd>';
            echo 
    '<dd>' .'&nbsp; </dd>';
          endforeach;  
      echo 
    '</dl>';
    // Output

    Hard-coded test Debby Site
    $url => http://local.debbie/finance/articles...save-you-money
    home finance articles postage-meters-can-save-you-money

    Hard-coded test This Thread
    $url => http://www.sitepoint.com/forums/show...02#post5370902
    home forums showthread.php 1012952-Pretty-URL-s-and-Breadcrumbs&p 5370902

    $_SERVER["PATH_INFO"]
    $url => http://localhost/Down-under.html
    home Down-under.html

    $_SERVER["REQUEST_URI"]
    $url => http://localhost/Down-under.html
    home Down-under.html
    Special Note: This works on my computer but this editor is messing with the strings and links
    Last edited by John_Betong; Mar 26, 2013 at 05:08. Reason: spelling: not my fortay
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  12. #12
    SitePoint Wizard DoubleDee's Avatar
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    As always, I appreciate your feedback, Stomme poes.


    Quote Originally Posted by Stomme poes View Post
    One place I would always use breadcrumbs (and this doesn't apply to you Debbie as your site's not this type, right?) is e-commerce. And they generally should NOT follow URL structure, unless your URL structure follows product category structure without too much fuddle in the URLs.
    No, my site is not an e-commerce site. And, yes, I agree that breadcrumbs are needed with E-commerce sites.


    I also argue for a breadcrumb-like checkout-step thing that shows, on each step of checkout, where you are and how many steps are left (along with the first page stating what all is needed to checkout, which payment methods are allowed, and what the total cost before shipping is... cost with shipping is better if there's some sane default that most users would choose).
    Agreed.


    Back to my original post, it seems that the biggest hurdle I need to overcome first - which started rearing it's ugly head yesterday - is fleshing out my content...

    Here I went and built this awesome database-driven content site, but now I am starting to see that *all* content doesn't fit into my current website architecture. Furthermore, I honestly haven't really sat down and planned out what *all* of my content will be. And, no, this is sloppy planning. Instead it is one of those, "I'll know what I want when I build it?!"

    Hopefully most of my final content will fit into what I've already built, however it occurred to me yesterday that there will be content for which I'll either need to restructure the content or build a modified home for it.

    As such, I've decided to take a few days off, clear my head, and then go buy a notebook and start re-sketching out my website on paper with content included. And then stepping back, and look at my completed website, and see where any gaps may exist.

    Doing all of this will hopefully give me a "clearer" perspective on how my "pretty URL's" really work/function. It will also help me determine if, when, and where Breadcrumbs might be of help.

    Anyways, THANKS for all of the suggestions. You guys have still given me some tips that help.

    Sincerely,


    Debbie

  13. #13
    SitePoint Wizard webcosmo's Avatar
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    Some sites need breadcrumbs, i personally love them because i can easily navigate to a certain category of that specific article. So i`d say yea, for the sake of accesibility.


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