What's the reason behind messing with the breadcrumbs ? RRS feed

  • Question

  • Suddenly the start of the forum breadcrumbs points to "Resources for IT Professionals" which is a web site that has nothing particularly to do with the forums and not to Forums Home. [Later Note: This is just one example. Other start-of-breadcrumbs point to other web sites.]

    This is obviously by design (as is the moving of Forums Home to the right-hand-side of the screen) but I don't remember any post here asking for it, so why mess with what was a logical set of breadcrumbs ?
    Friday, April 24, 2009 4:01 AM

All replies

  • That's a good question Mike and it's part of making our MSDN/Technet sites more consistent, so I'll try and explain why here.

    On the MSDN home page (http://msdn.microsoft.com) you'll notice some links on the left sites to specific technology "centers".

    Try clicking on one like "Visual Basic", notice the masthead now says "Visual Basic Development Center" instead of "Microsoft Development Center".  We've now added a "Forums" tab to each center (well most of them, others are still being worked on).

    When you click on any other tab in the center the context of the breadcrumb and masthead stay in that center.  So selecting the "Forums" tab now only shows you the categories of forums for that center, with the breadcrumb being consistent with other tabs.  So we've mapped each forum to a single center. 

    The problem comes up when you navigate to the forums tab in the MSDN home page.  Here you get a complete list of all MSDN forums but as soon as you select a forum you are now taken to the context of the center that the forum belongs to (unless it's not mapped).  This is to help users discover other content related to that technology.  Seach engines taking users directly to a forum thread will also do the same thing.

    This is part of a broader business decision that the forums team doesn't own but we feel makes sense.  We do understand Moderators may work on forums cross centers and since we've lost the forums home breadcrumb we decided to add the "Forums Home" link to the "My Forum Links" for a quick way for users to get back there.  I'm hoping the "My Forums" feature will help any moderators who moderator a cross set of forums, where that becomes their forums home page.

    We actually had a bug we're looking at fixing in that if you come to a forum that doesn't have center like this "Suggestion" forum then we were suppose to keep the old breadcrumb that took you to forums home, but it does now make it inconsistent.  I think we'll be fixing this early next week, as we've already had feedback that users want it.  Over time every forum will belong to some center so this won't be much of a problem. 

    I hope this makes some sense?  In fact we are calling the breadcrumb an "eyebrow" since it's not a true breadcrumb of where you came from.
    Sam Jarawan - Senior Development Lead - Server and Tools Online
    Saturday, April 25, 2009 5:38 PM
  • Thanks for taking the time to explain this.

    It seems to be for beginners like so many things in the forum software I don't like (!) - Ask a Question on every page encouraging users to post to a forum, yes, but with the major disadvantage for Moderators that these beginners tend to post to the wrong forum (I have another post on this so I'll leave it at that :))

    I regard going to the forums as going to the forums - i.e I see it as ONE location that I use. 

    Another location may well be that "Development Center" that your "eyebrows" (!) will now point at (it's not really that likely because these are far too general locations and I would tend to have a collection of direct links to for instance things like the TechNet articles top section for a particular product) but that in my structured way of looking at things is something completely different to forums and is accessed at different times.

    So for me it is far more logical to have forums eyebrows behave like breadcrumbs ...

    But there is no fighting "broader business decisions" so I'll leave it at that. 

    (I would however have been screaming very loudly if you hadn't at the same time as you removed the Forums Home link from the breadcrumbs  added it to the My Forums Link section. Brownie Points for the guy in the team who spotted that need.)

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    Saturday, April 25, 2009 6:22 PM