The Slippery Slope of Sliders

Tags: slidersbannerscarousel

replace your home page slider

What is a slider/carousel?

Most companies struggle with deciding which marketing message deserves top billing on their website. Sliders (or carousels) are rotating website banners which have gained in popularity because they allow a website to feature several marketing messages/ideas in one space, and they seem to be a logical solution to the front row marketing problem. However, they are not without drawbacks.

Why are Sliders bad?
Viewers find them confusing & frustrating

Featuring multiple options in a slider can be confusing for visitors. It’s been shown that many users have a difficult time with auto-rotating carousels, either changing too fast or too slow. Visitors may not be able to navigate them well, missing the information that initially intrigued them. And most visitors are too bored or irritated to wait through all of the slides, thus missing information you deemed as important.

Lack of click-through

According to a Notre Dame University test, 99% of people don’t click on sliders. And if they do, it’s almost always the first one. This pretty much defeats the purpose of having a slider in the first place.

Banner blindness

Depending upon the slider’s size and design, people will often think it’s an advertisement, leading them to ignore it completely. This has been termed as “banner blindness.”

Not great on mobile

It’s often difficult to swipe from slide to slide on mobile devices and the javascript used for most sliders slows download times. If wi-fi is not speedy, most mobile users will not wait for sliders to finish loading. They will scroll past them instead.

Negative impact
  • Large sliders push your content further down the page making it more time consuming and difficult for visitors to find the information they are looking for.
  • Websites that utilize sliders often do not repeat the content anywhere else on the page, so if the visitor doesn’t see it in the slider, they miss the information entirely.
  • If your slider is not optimized for a responsive site, your visitors using mobile devices may only see a small portion of the image or very tiny text which they cannot read making the slider useless.
  • The javascript used for the slider can slow down your site, negatively impacting your visitor’s viewing experience.
Bad conversion rates

All of the reasons above contribute to poor conversion rates when it comes to sliders. This results in visitors are not getting the messages that you wish to convey.

We have tested rotating offers many times and have found it to be a poor way of presenting home page content.

Chris Goward, Wider Funnel

How to make a slider work

It’s probably best to stick to sliders/carousels only for the purpose of showcasing visuals or photo galleries, but if you feel you need one here are some pointers.

  • Make navigation obvious and easy to use
  • Only load what you need – no more than 4 slides
  • Suggest more content to users with button-style links
  • Utilize a touch-enabled carousel for mobile devices
  • Don’t autoplay slides
  • Provide gestural hints
  • Add tracking
  • Use the tracking data to decide whether or not to keep using the slider
  • Slider Alternatives
What are some alternatives?

The simple solution would be to substitute a single static banner which has a single feature or focus. This allows the visitor to view the information they’re looking for much quicker and also reduce page load times. The right image can convey a far better feel of your business and your brand than a slider ever could.

If you have multiple items that you wish to present all at once, try a 4-9 grid pattern, with clearly defined links for each item. That way your visitor can quickly scan the items and choose their desired link easily. This can improve your conversion rates.

Whether you include a large banner image or several items on the page, the clarity of your product message is highly important. Display obvious links to more information and don’t forget to update your site’s information regularly. Not every available feature is a good fit for every website. Make sure your services and your brand are represented in the format that suits your needs, and the needs of your visitors, best.