I have a mobile application developed for Android & iOS. The application displays a set of hierarchical items.

The application main navigation is designed as a Master/Detail flow where tapping a list item navigates to a details view.

Recently new requirements introduced some lists to the details view, so now we have a cyclic navigation pattern where users can dig deeper infinitely through the application.

Users began to feel confused as they can't keep track of what level in the items hierarchy they are currently viewing. A suggestion to add a breadcrumb like text at the top of each view to make things clear for the users.

Is that a good idea? I believe this breadcrumb usage is not so popular in mobile apps, are there any better alternatives?

3 Answers 3


Generally, for mobiles, breadcrumbs are not recommended; the back button is what the users are familiar with. Also, it is said that; if your app needs a breadcrumb then your app is not easy to use.

Even though, if you really want to introduce one - try what Windows does for the deep hierarchies:

enter image description here

  • I agree with you, the app is not easy to use, maybe using the windows style drop down can help
    – Mina Wissa
    Commented May 8, 2016 at 16:41

If you want to make it available to "dig deeper infinitely through the application", it's really gonna be difficult to use.

But if there are only 2 or 3 levels of hierarchies, you can do some indentations. nav menu with indentations, courtesy of IMDb app(courtesy of IMDb app)

The screenshot here only has two levels, but if you want to go deeper, you could have a sub-level with more indentation. (Just don't go too deep)


I recommend using breadcrumbs for apps. Specially for those that have content as a webpage with 3 or more levels. Muy usability tests hace shown users interact with breadcrumbs in apps 37% times.

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