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  1. #1
    SitePoint Wizard
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    Do you put the button on your website for going back one page ?

    I notice on some sites, that they put buttons on their websites for 'going back one page' - what's the views of the peeps here ?

    I know all browsers have back buttons, (some make it clearer than others!!), but I remember teaching customers how to use computers a couple of years ago, and some of you may well be surprised at how, some of the things we do in a split second, without even thinking about it, can be very difficult to get to grips with, for some people.

    Views welcome.

    Dez.

  2. #2
    Programming Team silver trophybronze trophy
    Mittineague's Avatar
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    I don't use back buttons in pages. Any link to a previous page is in the navigation links. IMHO if I had a more complex site structure I would go with "breadcrumbs" not back buttons.

    The only time that I can think of where I might use a back button is with a multi-page form.

  3. #3
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    A general usability guideline is to avoid replicating the functionality and UI of user agents within your web site. In other words, let the browser's back button do its job. Of course, the best solution would be to implement the link and let users test it. If it enhances the usability of your particular project, keep it in.

  4. #4
    SitePoint Wizard
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    Many thanks Mittineague and Chris. It's just that for a website page that is already very busy as it is, (and where there's no breadcrumbs), I'm wondering if there's really any need nowadays for a 'click here to go back one page' button ?

  5. #5
    SitePoint Enthusiast miles2go's Avatar
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    Not even a single button i used. Most of the webmaster avoid using buttons. Increase the size of your page. Take time to load and not good from SEO point of views.

  6. #6
    Theoretical Physics Student bronze trophy Jake Arkinstall's Avatar
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    I usually use BreadCrumb links, mainly because it means they can view the pages above the current page in the heirarchy, no matter if they come from those pages or got to the current page by an external link.
    Jake Arkinstall
    "Sometimes you don't need to reinvent the wheel;
    Sometimes its enough to make that wheel more rounded"-Molona

  7. #7
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    If it's a very complicated site I usually use breadcrumbs, I never replicate the actions of the browser (that's just redundant).

    I'd recommend you check out Don't Make Me Think by Steve Krug. He talks about the fundamentals of good navigation and how people interact with the site.
    Check out my web design blog.
    http://www.bolducpress.com

  8. #8
    Follow: @AlexDawsonUK silver trophybronze trophy AlexDawson's Avatar
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    Something else you should be aware of is that producing a back button within a design requires the use of obtrusive scripting, if client-side scripting is disabled your back button would not work which would cause more confusion than if you never included it in the first place.

  9. #9
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    You don't want to make a back button that duplicates the browser back button (takes you to the last accessed web page--not necessarily a page on your site)

    You might want to have "previous" and "next" links, or page number links, for a sequential multi-page article.

    I like sites with bread crumbs. They definitely help a visitor orient himself on a site.

  10. #10
    SitePoint Wizard
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    Many thanks for all the helpful stuff here peeps - it's appreciated.

    How easy (or how hard) is breadcrumbs to setup please ? Would any of the coding for breadcrumbs rely on any client side settings ?

  11. #11
    SitePoint Author silver trophybronze trophy

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    There are two different types of breadcrumbs.

    The most common (I think) simply shows the site's hierarchical structure from the root to the current page. They make it easy to go 'up' one or more 'levels'. This type is easy to set up and doesn't require any client-side settings at all.

    The other type is more deserving of the name 'breadcrumbs'. It shows the way you have actually navigated within the site. In other words, they're a visual representation of the browser's navigation history. This type will require some sort of client-side co-operation, usually with cookies and session variables.
    Birnam wood is come to Dunsinane

  12. #12
    Mouse catcher silver trophy Stevie D's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dez View Post
    I notice on some sites, that they put buttons on their websites for 'going back one page' - what's the views of the peeps here ?

    I know all browsers have back buttons, (some make it clearer than others!!), but I remember teaching customers how to use computers a couple of years ago, and some of you may well be surprised at how, some of the things we do in a split second, without even thinking about it, can be very difficult to get to grips with, for some people.
    My view is that you should not use a 'back' button that uses Javascript to go back in the user's history.

    Why? Every browser has a 'back' button. Pressing it is the second most common action a surfer takes, only behind clicking on links. Anyone who uses the internet knows what the browser's 'back' button does. There is no need to replicate the feature within your website, particularly in such a fragile way.

    Sometimes I have landed at a page from another site. What I need is site navigation - not a link back to wherever I was before. It's as though designers have thought that there is only one possible way that I could be looking at that page, and that is by following an internal link from another page on their site. That just isn't true!

    What you should do is to provide visitors with a way to navigate around your site and orient themselves within it. Up/down, next/previous, back to index, these are all valid and useful ways to help people get around - but they should point to definite pages, not rely on people having traced a particular route through your site. If you have a structured, hierarchical website, then a breadcrumb trail is one very useful way to achieve this.

    One thing that I have been doing assiduously for years is to use <link rel="..."> elements in the document head ... but although I make a point of doing this, I don't know if anyone other than Opera users benefit! Are there any other browsers or assistive technologies that make use of these links? Has anyone seen any evidence that search engines use them?


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