How to create a responsive breadcrumb navigation with Bootstrap

How to create a responsive breadcrumb navigation with Bootstrap

Breadcrumb navigation is a crucial element in web design, providing users with a clear path to navigate through your website’s hierarchy. It enhances the user experience by offering contextual links, aiding in orientation, and simplifying the backtracking process. Bootstrap, a popular front-end framework, offers built-in components to create responsive breadcrumb navigation effortlessly. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the process of crafting a responsive breadcrumb navigation with Bootstrap, improving your website’s usability and aesthetics.

Understanding the Importance of Breadcrumb Navigation

Before we delve into the technical details, let’s examine why breadcrumb navigation is vital for web design:

  1. Improved User Navigation: Breadcrumbs provide a visual representation of a user’s location within a website’s hierarchy. Users can easily navigate to higher-level pages or categories.

  2. Contextual Clarity: They offer context by displaying the relationship between the current page and the pages above it. This helps users understand the site’s structure.

  3. Enhanced User Experience: Breadcrumbs simplify the backtracking process. Users can quickly return to a previous level without relying on the browser’s back button.

  4. Accessibility: Breadcrumb trails are beneficial for users with disabilities, aiding them in understanding and navigating the website’s structure.

With these benefits in mind, let’s explore how to implement a responsive breadcrumb navigation using Bootstrap.

Setting Up Bootstrap

To create a responsive breadcrumb navigation with Bootstrap, you’ll need to integrate Bootstrap into your project. You can do this by downloading the necessary Bootstrap CSS and JavaScript files and adding them to your project, or you can use the Bootstrap CDN for faster integration.

Once Bootstrap is set up, you can start building your breadcrumb navigation.

Building the HTML Structure

The HTML structure for a Bootstrap breadcrumb navigation is straightforward. It typically consists of an ordered or unordered list (<ol> or <ul>) with list items (<li>) representing each level of the hierarchy. Each list item contains a link (<a>) except for the last item, which is typically non-clickable and represents the current page.

Here’s a basic example:

<nav aria-label="breadcrumb">
  <ol class="breadcrumb">
    <li class="breadcrumb-item"><a href="#">Home</a></li>
    <li class="breadcrumb-item"><a href="#">Category</a></li>
    <li class="breadcrumb-item active" aria-current="page">Current Page</li>

In this structure:

  • The nav element with aria-label="breadcrumb" provides semantic meaning and assists with accessibility.
  • The ol element with the class breadcrumb is the container for the breadcrumb items.
  • Each level of the hierarchy is represented by a li element with the class breadcrumb-item.
  • Links (a elements) are used for all but the last item, which has the class active and aria-current="page" to indicate the current page.

You can customize this structure to fit your website’s design and hierarchy.

Customizing Breadcrumbs

Bootstrap allows for extensive customization of breadcrumb navigation. Here are some common customizations:

Adding Icons:

You can enhance your breadcrumb navigation by adding icons or other visual elements to each item. Consider using popular icon libraries like Font Awesome.

<li class="breadcrumb-item"><a href="#"><i class="fas fa-home"></i> Home</a></li>


Customize the styling of your breadcrumb navigation using Bootstrap classes or your own CSS. You can change text colors, fonts, backgrounds, and more to match your design.

/* Custom breadcrumb styles */
.breadcrumb {
  background-color: #f8f9fa;

.breadcrumb-item a {
  color: #007bff;


You can change the separator between breadcrumb items. By default, Bootstrap uses a forward slash (/).

<ol class="breadcrumb">
  <li class="breadcrumb-item"><a href="#">Home</a></li>
  <li class="breadcrumb-item"><a href="#">Category</a></li>
  <li class="breadcrumb-item active" aria-current="page">Current Page</li>

Responsive Behavior:

Bootstrap’s breadcrumb navigation is responsive by default. It adapts to different screen sizes, ensuring that your breadcrumb trail remains accessible on both desktop and mobile devices.

Testing and Optimization

After creating your responsive breadcrumb navigation, it’s essential to thoroughly test it on various devices and screen sizes. Ensure that the breadcrumb trail functions correctly and maintains readability across different platforms.

Optimize your breadcrumb navigation based on user feedback and real-world testing. Consider factors like the length of breadcrumb trails, the clarity of labels, and overall user experience when making adjustments.


A responsive breadcrumb navigation created with Bootstrap is a valuable addition to any website, enhancing user navigation, providing contextual clarity, and simplifying the backtracking process. By following the steps outlined in this guide and customizing your breadcrumb navigation as needed, you can improve the overall usability and aesthetics of your website, ensuring that users can navigate your site with ease.