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How should the breadcrumb menu behave when entering the sub-page via search autosuggest?

We have a global search and this kind of breadcrumb structure: Overview > Company > Group > Person. How should the breadcrumb menu be structured, if the Person page is entered directly from search? Should it follow the same structure? What about when conducting the search on a Person page (deep level) and entering from there to – lets say – another Person's page who could be in a different company? Should the breadcrumb menu indicate that the page was entered via search or does it matter?

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    If you say that your breadcrumb follows a tree structure of your content, not the navigation history of the user, then you've already got your answer there. – Bergi Sep 11 at 22:16
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We had a similar problem at the project I am currently working on.

We decided that the breadcrumbs should represent the static hierarchy of pages - rather than the user's history. When representing the history of visited pages, the path would soon get confusingly complex, because search features, cross-links, etc. can generate a lot of redundancy.

On the other hand, the hierarchical structure of pages always stays the same, giving the user a sense of orientation - they know where they are, and can easily navigate within the page tree.

The Nielsen Norman Group backs this ratio with their Breadcrumbs design guidelines:

  1. Breadcrumbs should display the current location in the site’s hierarchical structure, not the session history.
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    Anecdotally -- I have no evidence to support this (hence comment), but I find I navigate by searching and then I use the breadcrumbs to step up to the wider category if I can't find what I want. I get annoyed when sites don't let me do that. – Roger Lipscombe Sep 11 at 15:37
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What do breadcrumbs do?

-Show how the user navigated to a particular page -Show the hierarchy of a page

If a page has multiple different parents, identify a canonical path to it in the site hierarchy and show that path in the breadcrumb trail. Don’t attempt to personalize the breadcrumb trail so that it will reflect each user’s individual path within the site hierarchy.

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