Devin Coldewey had a fascinating suggestion on UXMag: turn the URL field into an active breadcrumb field. It’s a wonderful idea, but it ignores the usefulness of the URL bar for bots, and for those sites still showing the actual URL (most), it’s a helpful clue to visitors: yes, I really am on the site to which I thought I was linking.
But Coldewey’s concept, transforming part of the browser into something offering new functionality, was inspired, as was the bread crumb suggestion. So here’s what I proposed:
I love the concept. But if we’re going to re-conceptualize portions of the browser, why not the browser title area? You might do the following:
–Leave the URL in the URL bar. It’s an important place to verify you are where you think you linked, and this is helpful for bots as well.
–Add functionality to the title bar to link to breadcrumbs. It’s already good SEO for titles to go from specific to broad, e.g.:
Steller’s Jay | Family Corvidae | All About Birds
So, we could add functionality with links, where a browser with title breadcrumb capability will turn those into links, and a browser without will merely read them as a title. The code could simply check browser version, and if breadcrumb title f(x) were true, it would display the above as links, thusly:
Love the idea of leveraging different areas to be more functional. Pity that “nav” is already snapped up by HTML5 ;–)
P.S. All About Birds is one of my favorite sites, run by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Enjoy!
Coldeway, D. Making the URL Bar Useful Again: Where the breadcrumb should have been all along. UX Magazine, 9 September 2010.