Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Breadcrumb navigation for Firefox

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The breadcrumb navigation technique is a very useful interface design that allows users to keep track of the current location when they have to navigate to locations several folders deep. Nautilus, a Linux file manager, had it for years. Microsoft improved upon it and introduced it in Vista. It became an instant hit. Soon came Explorer Breadcrumbs that allowed you to enjoy this navigation feature in Windows XP. Then I found this extension for Firefox simply called Breadcrumb.

firefox The Breadcrumb Firefox extension adds the breadcrumb functionality to the address bar. It’s extremely simple to use.

Suppose you are at a page whose URL is something like this:

http://www.something.com/category/picture/index.html

When you need to move up the hierarchy, say you want to view the “category” folder, just double click on "category" and you will be taken to the address:

http://www.something.com/category/

If you want to move to http://www.something.com/category/picture/, double click on “picture”.

Double clicking on “something” will take you to:

http://www.something.com/

If the end of the URL has a query parameter, then clicking at a blank space at the end of the URL will take you to the URL without the parameters. For example, clicking at the end of http://www.google.com/search?q=firefox will take you to http://www.google.com/search

If the URL contains a subdomain, then double clicking on the URL will take you to the root domain. For example, if the URL is http://subdomain.something.com the user will be taken to http://www.something.com

Breadcrumb is a very useful tool for navigating websites, and it does not crowd the toolbar with buttons.

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