SIGIA-L Mail Archives: [Sigia-l] Breadcrumbs - other factors to
[Sigia-l] Breadcrumbs - other factors to consider
From: Chiara Fox (chiara_at_chiarafox.com)
Date: Tue Mar 11 2003 - 12:40:45 EST
Chick Foxgrover said:
> It seems to me you could list multiple paths reflecting the facets, In
> your example, list both paths.
> At 11:21 AM -0500 3/11/03, joe wrote:
>>That is, does a product page I'm looking at exists
>> within a linear hierarchy of Home > Computers > Desktops > G4 >
>>Mirrored Front or does it exist in Home > Graphic Design > Hardware or
>> does it exist in Home > Web Design > something or other...?
To me, this is where the rubber hits the road and issues of practically
come in. In thinking about this in abstract terms, sure, I'd love to see
all the paths that Joe suggests for the page in question. But when it
comes to actually putting that page together, does it really make sense to
have two (or more!) sets of links at the top of the page? You have to be
very careful that your graphic design will allow for mulitple paths in a
way that is not confusing. That seems to me to be a tall order. I can't
even think of a site that does that (Yahoo! and Epicurious don't).
On the PeopleSoft site, we can't accomodate two paths. There isn't enough
room in the space at the top of the page. Does that mean we have a poor
graphic design? Not necessarily. Breadcrumbs were given a low priority
when weighed against all the other graphical elements and information we
have to have on the page. Breadcrumbs are not the primary means of
navigation on the page - they are supportive. They don't directly generate
more inquires. So, we only get room for one.
Now, that does put us in a bit of a bind though, because we do have
products that live in more than one category. We have product modules
(such as Billing) that are part of the Financials and Supply Chain
Management product lines. Billing is also a part of 6 different product
bundles (or solutions or suites). That means we could, really, have 8
different breadcrumb paths at the top of the one Billing page. But the
design we have only allows for one. Which one do we pick?
Now, some may argue that the answer is you don't have to pick just one.
You dynamically generate your breadcrumb to match whichever path is
appropriate given how the user came to the page (e.g., show the Supply
Chain one if they came in that way, show Financials when they come that
way). What a great idea! But there are problems with that solution too.
You have to have a backend that supports that. At PeopleSoft, the way our
templates and CMS work, we can't do that. The breadcrumbs are manually
entered into the template for each page and are static. (Don't even get me
started on the maintenance issues THAT causes.)
I guess my point in all this rambling is that there are more factors
weighing in on these elements than first appears. There's what ideally
"should" be done from a hierarchy/semantic/purist point. But there are
limits based on the reality of systems, resources (time, $$, and bodies),
graphic design, and priority. I'm sure there are more. I hate having a
user click on the "Billing" link from the Financials product line page and
then have the breadcrumb say "Supply Chain Management" at the top of the
page. Espeically when they aren't interested in SCM at all. But I don't
have a better way to do it right now.
To me, the interesting and important question and problem to be solved is
how do we design the best system given all those factors? Where does it
make sense to compromise and where do we have to stand firm? Not whether
we call the element "breadcrumbs" or "topic paths" or "little links at the
top of the page that show you where you are in the site."
When replying, please *trim your post* as much as possible.
*Plain text, please; NO Attachments
ASIST IA 03 Summit: Making Connections
Searchable list archive: http://www.info-arch.org/lists/sigia-l/
Sigia-l mailing list -- post to: Sigia-l_at_asis.org
Changes to subscription: http://mail.asis.org/mailman/listinfo/sigia-l
This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.2
: Sun Nov 23 2003 - 22:55:39 EST