How should the breadcrumb menu behave when entering the sub-page via search autosuggest?
We have a global search and this kind of breadcrumb structure: Overview > Company > Group > Person. How should the breadcrumb menu be structured, if the Person page is entered directly from search? Should it follow the same structure? What about when conducting the search on a Person page (deep level) and entering from there to – lets say – another Person's page who could be in a different company? Should the breadcrumb menu indicate that the page was entered via search or does it matter?
We had a similar problem at the project I am currently working on.
We decided that the breadcrumbs should represent the static hierarchy of pages - rather than the user's history. When representing the history of visited pages, the path would soon get confusingly complex, because search features, cross-links, etc. can generate a lot of redundancy.
On the other hand, the hierarchical structure of pages always stays the same, giving the user a sense of orientation - they know where they are, and can easily navigate within the page tree.
The Nielsen Norman Group backs this ratio with their Breadcrumbs design guidelines:
- Breadcrumbs should display the current location in the site’s hierarchical structure, not the session history.