Sliders on Websites Don’t Work
Last Updated on April 23, 2021
Content sliders, often called an image carousel, was once a cute feature for many websites. Making its debut around 2004, this addition promised to promote multiple messages, within a limited space, to one’s audience within seconds. As web developers refined code to create more sophisticated sliders, website owners latched on and bought into the perceived benefits of carousel sliders. Yet over time, it has been proven they actually can hurt user experience and turn people off. Here are five solid reasons why you should avoid carousel sliders when possible.
Your audience isn’t seeing all of the slider content. Too many messages dilute all of them.
Utilizing a carousel slider with multiple messages will water them all down. Your audience will quickly form an impression of your website and organization. If you are trying to share multiple messages quickly, the chance of them having a favorable impression will drop and they will move on.
So how do you choose the right message-based design to help with a good first impression? Ask your users. Conduct user testing with different messages and choose the one that is most favorable.
Interacting with sliders can be cumbersome.
Users who attempt to interact with carousel slider content may run into issues. See the example below from overstock.com. Notice how the slider navigation is obscure and hard to locate. This can hinder a user from seeing the second, third and other messages.
Another example of poor slider navigation are the indicator dots that typically appear towards the bottom of the content. These can help to show the user where they are at within the progression of slider content, but largely can be ignored due to their placement and size.
If you are going to offer properly functioning carousel slider navigation, make sure it is prominent and easy to use.
Doesn’t quite work on mobile
If you take a look at your website traffic data, you will see that your audience interacts with your website differently when on a mobile versus desktop device. Smaller screen size, different motives, and interaction methods (touching, tapping, and swiping compared to clicking) will prevent your slider content from being viewed. See the example of overstock.com.
Updating them can have a steep learning curve.
From fading content in and out to mixing static imagery with video, sliders can offer a user some sleek interaction. But all the bells and whistles can come with a steep editing cost. If your carousel slider requires a web developer to edit content, it is time to ditch the slider.
It’s time to ditch the slider.
Now that you have read why carousel sliders on websites don’t work, it is time to replace them with some better alternatives.
Before you remove that content, first go back and take a look at the content you were offering. Per your web statistics and user feedback, you should be able to pull out one prominent message that resonates with your audience. Take that content and replace your slider with it. Depending on how your website is built, you could display a static image or a video loop coupled with a headline and call-to-action. Your new content should help set a great first impression and guide your audience toward a particular goal, regardless of which device they are on. A win for both you and your audience.
We know you have a lot to offer your audience when it comes to content. By refining that content to one key message instead of multiple ones in a carousel slider, you stand the chance of improving clicks, conversions, and overall user experience. If you need help turning your carousel slider into impactful content, we are here to help. Call us at 513-929-4603 or schedule a digital marketing discussion.