All of the blogs I have ready about breadcrumbs mention that breadcrumbs are used for secondary navigation and shouldn't really act as primary navigation. What is the reason for this convention?

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    What actually makes you think they would be suitable for primary navigation?
    – JonW
    Commented Jan 8, 2016 at 13:17
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    If I'm at the home page and I want to get to Bluetooth Wireless Speakers (Which is nested under Speakers > Wireless > Bluetooth) I don't see any way to navigate there using just breadcrumbs unless you have some sort of tree chart looking breadcrumbs taking up the whole page.
    – DasBeasto
    Commented Jan 8, 2016 at 13:54
  • @JonW I Googled for best ways to use breadcrumbs and every blog/article mentioned it's not for primary navigation. So I was just wondering, what could be the reasons. Commented Feb 14, 2016 at 2:08

2 Answers 2


TL;DR Main menu leads the user, while breadcrumbs are following him. They relate like a GPS navigator and a GPS tracker.

Main navigation supports and helps to form user's mental model of what is on the site. It has constant structure and is presented on the same place, with the same information. It's very reliable and consistent mean for navigational tasks.

Breadcrumbs, on the contrast, are dynamic and can be build in a different ways, following the user interaction pathes. So they are dependant on user's behaviour and don't show clearly the site content. They are helpful as a secondary navigation mean.


There are no hard rules here, so lets take a look at examples and see whether they make sense as a primary navigation in one particular case. Breadcrumby menu

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