The Internet has been called the “Information Superhighway.” If you were to graphically represent that superhighway, well, even if all the mapmakers in the world combined forces to perform such a task, their heads would be set to explode. The Internet can be confusing to get around despite—and especially because of— the myriad routes, roads, expressways, and back roads. Search engines consider themselves guides but not even they can provide a universally simplified display of the World Wide Web and its structure.
A website is a microcosm of the aforesaid confusion. In fact, I might even venture to say that navigating a plane might be an easier task than navigating some websites.
Admittedly, you may have trouble getting around the SkyGeek site. Hey, that just comes with the territory. If you offer over 100,000 items, chances are there may be some delays in getting to your destination. But these delays don’t need to lead to cancellations. In fact, you may be able to skip the delays of reaching your preferred product page altogether. How?
Just follow the bread crumbs.
What are bread crumbs and why are we talking about food in a time of navigation-induced frustration? We’re not talking about food. “Bread crumbs” is a reference to the navigation buttons strewn about the top of a product page (See Figure 1).
Examine Figure 1; notice the color gradients, i.e. as you move from left to right along the bread crumbs you see that it goes from a darker shade of blue to a lighter shade. This color gradient is a representation of where a specific product is in relation to the home page. But these bread crumbs are not stale. Clicking on the names of each crumb is a link to that section of the site. Refreshing – like a loaf of bread.
To further drive home the point, let’s look a little closer at Figure 1’s example, BP 2380 Aviation Turbine Oil. There are a total of seven bread crumbs. As mentioned the first bread crumb on the left is always going to be labeled “Home” because whenever you get lost there should always be a way home. Actually, let’s break down the bread crumbs as follows and accompany them with screenshots (Be sure to click the screenshots to enlarge; also be sure to locate the red arrows):
Bread Crumb #1 = “Home” >>>>>Click this link and go to the homepage.
Bread Crumb #2 = “Shop Supplies” >>>>>Click this link and be transported to this large section; this section can also be found in the “All Departments” tab which is located right above the bread crumbs.
Bread Crumb #3 = “Fluids, Oils, and Lubricants” >>>>>Click this link to narrow your search. This section is also currently found in the “Shop & Hangar Supplies” tab directly above the bread crumbs.
Bread Crumb #4 = “Oils” >>>>>Click this link to refine your search even more. You can now distinguish types of oil from one another.
Bread Crumb #5 = “Turbine Oil” >>>>>Click this link if you know you want turbine oil but don’t know the brand or military specification.
Bread Crumb#6 = “BP Turbo Oil 2380 – MIL-PRF-23699F” >>>>>Click this link and you will be taken to what is called a “Multi-Add” page. These types of pages take the same product but display its different sizes.
Bread Crumb#7 = “BP 2380 Aviation Turbine Oil – 24 Quart Case” >>>>>>Clicking this link is kind of pointless as it will refresh the page you are already on. The last bread crumb is always the destination page you are currently viewing—or at least it should be.
Unfortunately not all of our bread crumb trails are complete. But know that we are constantly striving to get them properly aligned so that our site is organized. And that is ultimately what bread crumbs are— a hierarchy of web pages that correspond to products, from general to specific. It is a navigation tool that lends itself to organization.
Remember, knowing how to get around instills confidence in shopping as well as ease of use. And that is something we like to give away for free and as much as possible.