Breadcrumbs or breadcrumb trail is
a navigation aid used in user interfaces. It gives users a way to
keep track of their locations within programs or documents. A good
example may be seen on the
RLLDesign site. The "breadcrumb" appears just above the words "Photometric
Lighting Design" at the upper left of
the page. Pay attention to the fact that in this example, the terms
in the trail are all important search phrases for this site!
A question was raised about browser
compatibility, and Angela mentioned a web site at
LitmusApp that provided a tool
for investigating this aspect of a site. This site offers several
payment plans for their services, but also offers free plans for
testing browser compatibility and Email. The free plans are limited
in scope, but provide useful information. Pricing plans make use of
their services quite reasonable. Another site that provides some
free tools with more fully featured alternatives available is
The question of sitemaps for web sites
was discussed briefly, and differences between a site map on a web
page and one in an xml file was covered. An xml file can be
generated automatically by software that is readily available.
Searching Google for "sitemap generator" will show a lot of choices.
A program that I have used in the past successfully is available at
GSiteCrawler is available for free and runs under Windows - all you
need is an internet connection and the desire to make the most out
of your website! The site map file, after it is generated by this
software, is placed in the root directory of the site. It should
then be submitted to Google through their Webmaster Tools interface.
This file should be regenerated periodically as pages are added to
the web site.
One of the sites used as an example in the
presentation was a shopping blog
called Mighty Goods. This is a money-making site that lives off
advertising revenue produced because people come to the site to look
for interesting items. Rumor has it that this site is for sale!
Part of tonight's presentation consisted of a
list of "bads", or things one should never do on a web site. To see
some living examples of some of these "no-no's", take a look at the
websites. As part of the illustration, this page has sound on it
that will drive you nuts if you stay very long!!
We present a particular approach to developing
web sites in this clinic, and we propose a specific standard by
which we measure the success of a web site, which is, "does it
deliver business to you?"
We have guest speakers come in from time to
time to provide their insight and experience about specific topics.
The purpose is to introduce the participants in the clinic to
different tools that are available to help them in improving the
performance of their web sites. All such information is provided in
the context of our overall approach to marketing on the web.
Tonights guests were invited to provide
insight into improving the user interface on web pages. Their
presentation, which is available for review, provided a lot of
useful information on that topic, which participants in the clinic
might apply to their web sites in different ways.
A comment was made during the presentation to
the effect that "if navigation were set up like the example being
shown, the web site would be a success." This comment seems to have
confused and upset some people in the class, since the navigation
protocol being illustrated did not take into account the role that
site navigation can play in search engine optimization. The simple
fact is that the navigation elements on a site are critical elements
in making the site perform properly, and the guest presenters were
not really looking at navigation from that perspective. Their
perspective was user interaction.
For the record, note that our philosophy in
the clinic is that navigation should first and foremost contribute
to the optimization of the site performance with search engines. In
that context, all the information presented in this session can be
useful in making the site easier to understand and follow for the
site users, and this presentation should be taken within that
Understanding the importance of links and
internal navigation, and how that structure contributes to site
success, is crucial to making the techniques we present in the
clinic. For anyone for whom this concept is not clear, please make a
special effort to attend one of our presentations on linking and ask
specific questions about this issue.