We strongly recommend “no sliders” to our clients in our website design projects. Clients are often surprised by this recommendation. Often they regard sliders (also known as carousels) as best practice based their wide adoption on competitor websites.
Our recommendation isn’t a matter of personal preference. Initially we were enamored by animation of slides with attractive pictures and brief messages. A few years back, we proudly used them on websites.
Personal Frustration with Sliders
As sliders became prevalent, I began to find sliders annoying. Like most people, when I arrive on a website page, I make a decision within seconds to take one of three actions:
- Read information I expected to find there.
- Click on something (to take me to where I can find the information I’m seeking).
Most sliders scroll automatically every 3 to 5 seconds. At faster speeds, the slide disappears before visitors absorb the content. Any longer and the pace seems agonizingly slow.
Occasionally, I would arrive on a website and find the first slide discussed the information I sought, but it scrolled away before I could click on it. And if the first slide didn’t discuss the information needed, I usually departed before seeing the second slide.
In most cases, the sliders had nothing to do with the information I sought. Often, they inhibited my effort to find what I was seeking.
However, at this point, I still thought they were cool and continued to recommend and deploy them.
User Interaction Studies
Slowly, reports began to trickle in that major commercial websites found that sliders hurt conversions and sales. Serious studies of website visitor behavior soon followed. Some of the findings:
- Only 1% of visitors interacted with sliders.
- Of those 1%, they usually clicked on the first slide.
- Sliders hurt search engine optimization (SEO) efforts.
- Sliders often perform poorly on mobile devices.
The reasons that we recommend against using sliders on websites are:
- Any calls to actions on the slides are ineffective.
- Sliders are bad for SEO.
- Many visitors find them annoying.
With that said, we still have clients who want sliders on their websites. So occasionally, you will find sliders on our clients’ sites.