Around and Around We Go: Reconsidering Sliders

Around and Around We Go: Reconsidering Sliders

Sliders (also called carousels) are a method for showing information on a web page and telling stories in a series of rotating slides. They’re often used for displaying important information in a space-efficient format and drawing attention to the overall message.

Sliders come in different sizes and shapes, but they have many of the same characteristics:

  • They use a “slideshow”-like format with a series of “slides.”
  • They use a form of transition between slides – for example, sliding animation or fade-out.
  • They contain a variety of media including audio, video, text and images.
  • They allow for controls such as play/pause, backward/forward and overall slide navigation.
  • They are often located on home pages.

Unfortunately, they don’t always work as intended.

Visitor Engagement

A slider is generally not effective for engaging site visitors. Moving content on your website often distracts the reader from the task at hand: finding out more details about your music. Visitors generally don’t interact with sliders and won’t view beyond the first or second slide.

Plus, you can forget about repeat or referral business. Visitors will only share something if they believe others will be interested. The more barriers you throw at them — “next” buttons, interstitials — the more you complicate the process.

Lack of Controls

Another accessibility issue occurs when sliders play automatically without the option of a stop button. Sliders without back and forward buttons may advance a slide in which readers were currently engaged.

Sliders can seem valuable for display purposes, but visitors prefer to be active rather than passive when visiting a site. Without pagination overlays and thumbnail navigation and pagination overlays, they are powerless to navigate your site with comfort and confidence.

Message Overload

Even when the user controls the slider, problems may arise. A slider can dilute your message by trying to shove too much content into a tight space. A slider may dominate the page and steal attention from other important pieces of content.

SEO Value

Most sliders employ a large image for each slide with no text content as a complement. If Google is unable to read the text on your home page, your SEO value will fall through the floor. Content is a requirement for ranking on search engines. If you have mere scraps of content, your site will not rank well.

Site Functionality

Sliders don’t always work on mobile devices and may slow down your site. If your site contains a slider, it likely hampers your page load time and alienates your visitors. Most people don’t have time to wait for large images to load. Instead, showcase your creativity and skill by designing pages with quality content and static images.

Summary

Use compelling images and high-quality content to communicate effectively with your audience. By avoiding sliders on your site, you give visitors a much better experience.

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