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Document Type: Standard


HHS recommends the use of breadcrumbs on all pages.


Giving users a visual cue to their location on a website is much like providing a “You are here” indicator on a map.  Breadcrumbs have the benefit of orienting users to where they are on a series of pages, and where they are in the overall site hierarchy. Breadcrumbs also assist visitors who come into the site on an inside page (via Google, for example) and need to access related hierarchical information.


Breadcrumbs are to be the normal san serif (Verdana preferred or Arial) paragraph font and size 11pt (preferred) or 10pt. They should not be bolded or italicized.

Breadcrumbs should start with "Home". Typically, for all pages on HHS.gov, breadcrumbs would be displayed as:
  • Home > Level Two Page Title > Level Three Page Title > (Page)
  • Home > Value-Driven Health Care > Communities > Activities in Your Community
Each element in the breadcrumb is a link, except for the last element, which displays the page title and should not be linked. Code exceptions should be made to prevent the duplication of directory names/page titles when on the directory’s index page.

For practicality’s sake, limit clickable breadcrumbs to four levels, no matter how many levels down a particular page may be.
  • For a file structure that looks like: Home > Level Two > Level Three > Level Four > Level Five > (Page)
  • The breadcrumbs would look like: Home > Level Two > Level Three > Level Four > (Page)


Breadcrumbs are not recommended for pages that are part of dedicated Web applications and have built-in navigation tools.


  • Evans, 1998
  • Farkas and Farkas, 2000
  • Horton, 2005
  • IBM, 1999
  • Lynch and Horton, 2002
  • Nielsen and Tahir, 2002
  • Spool, et al., 1997