Just a quick note – I was mentally laying out a new site yesterday. The theme I was using asked if I wanted to enable breadcrumbs, and if so, for what post type. (In WordPress, technically speaking posts are posts and pages are posts – crazy, right?) At first, I scoffed – “Breadcrumbs? Is this 2008?” But then I got over myself and started doing a little reading.
This article on marketingland.com presents a great case for considering breadcrumbs in the context of what is best for the user. (hint, if done right, they often are) But they kind of buried the lead, or maybe I did. The most important thing to do, when designing a new site, is to consider what is best for the user. And don’t worry so much about what is in style and what is old – if it works and makes your user’s experience better, then it is good! If there is a better or simpler way to do it, it will generally evolve. Or maybe you will discover it! But a website should beautiful, functional, and as simple as possible.
Architect Louis Sullivan said:
“Whether it be the sweeping eagle in his flight, or the open apple-blossom, the toiling work-horse, the blithe swan, the branching oak, the winding stream at its base, the drifting clouds, over all the coursing sun, form ever follows function, and this is the law. Where function does not change, form does not change. The granite rocks, the ever-brooding hills, remain for ages; the lightning lives, comes into shape, and dies, in a twinkling.
It is the pervading law of all things organic and inorganic, of all things physical and metaphysical, of all things human and all things superhuman, of all true manifestations of the head, of the heart, of the soul, that the life is recognizable in its expression,that form ever follows function. This is the law.“
And a quote often attributed to Albert Einstein sums up the best UX (user experience) perspective: “in effect, that everything should be as simple as it can be but not simpler!”