Should I Use a Slider on My Website?
Lately, there’s been a lot of anti-slider bleating going on online. Sliders suck! Slider slow down your website! Sliders are bad for SEO! These are just a few of the most common arguments against sliders.
But, the truth is sliders don’t suck – not when you know how to use them right.
Sure, a few years ago sliders were quite slow, unattractive, and difficult to use. They were distracting and made for terrible user experience design. However, we’ve come a long way since then.
Web design and development have changed enormously, nullifying the majority of arguments against sliders.
As technology continues to improve, we’re seeing beautifully designed sliders that perform great and help to improve user experience.
Don’t believe me? Take a look at the Squarespace homepage to see how they use stunning sliders to create a stunning page.
Sliders are making a comeback, and they aren’t exclusively for use in headers anymore, as evidenced by the example above. It can even be argued that they are now an essential tool for simple web design that everyone should use.
WordPress made it even more convenient to add it to your website through slider plugins like Slider Factory. You can create a beautiful image slider with just a few clicks using multiple layouts.
If you’re still on the fence about whether or not you should use a slider, read the rest of this article to learn why sliders are sometimes ineffective, when and how to use them effectively, and all the benefits you stand to gain from using sliders the right way on your website.
What Is a Slider?
Sometimes referred to as a slideshow or carousel, a slider is a series of images shown in sequence. Sliders are typically located on a website homepage.
For instance, a restaurant website may use a slider to showcase different items on their menu, or a travel website may use a slider to display images from different locations around the world.
You can have sliders where the images are automatically rotated using a timer, or ones where the images are controlled manually. This way the user can take their time viewing each image or skip the ones they don’t find interesting.
What Can Cause Sliders to Be Ineffective?
As previously mentioned, there are many criticisms against sliders. Opinions differ among web design professionals as to why sliders are bad for websites and whether or not websites should use slider images.
Below, I’ve listed three of the top reasons that can cause sliders to be ineffective.
1. Banner Blindness
Banner blindness refers to the web usability phenomenon whereby visitors to a website mentally block out or ignore banner information (whether consciously or unconsciously).
It’s a form of selective attention where users disregard certain page elements that may disrupt their user experience.
Typically, banner blindness occurs because the visitor is searching for something specific and they don’t want to be distracted by ads. For instance, if someone visits a news website page to get their daily fix on what’s happening around the world, their goal is to quickly browse through the daily headlines when the page loads.
This means they are likely to scroll past the banner portion of the page in order to do that, and it’s one of the main reasons why sliders can be ineffective. Regardless of the information contained in the banner – even if it’s not an ad – it’s likely to be ignored.
2. Slower Loading Speed
In addition to the number of elements on your page, the design, and the type of hosting server you’re using, sliders contribute to an unattractive decrease in site speed.
Sliders use high-resolution images, which is why their use could seriously impact the loading speed of a website.
Often, these large images are loaded at the same time, which significantly slows down the page speed, leading to user frustration and website abandonment.
Studies have shown that a delay of just one second in page response can lead to a decline in conversions of up to 7%. So, if a slider adds two more seconds to your website’s load time, you can see how it can be detrimental to your conversions.
3. Usability Issues
Some sliders don’t transition well to mobile and can cause serious usability issues on mobile devices. A lot of mobile users have trouble reading image carousels designed for desktop.
As an example, many sliders use multiple images in rotation, which can take up the entire phone screen. Since mobile speed is crucial for online sales, it’s important to avoid adding bloat to webpages to ensure a user-friendly mobile site.
Benefits of Sliders When Used Properly
The good news is that when used properly, sliders can help you achieve great results on your website. Below we take a look at some of the benefits you can enjoy when you use sliders the right way.
1. Enhances User Experience
Used in a strategic way, sliders can actually enhance user experience instead of being background noise. They can make it easy for you to present relevant information to your visitors in one convenient place.
If visitors can find everything they need to know on your website slider. It makes their search process much easier.
Furthermore, the slider will keep them engaged on your page for longer, and visitors will be able to tell if they need to explore your site some more. To help further improve user experience, you can use manual sliders so users can take their time with the images or text they find interesting.
2. Visual Appeal
There’s no denying that a well-designed slider has a high aesthetic appeal and can help improve the overall attractiveness of your home page.
Many web users consider website design to be an indicator of credibility, and since a lot of people make snap judgments about websites as soon as they land on the homepage, a slider can be a powerful tool in helping to boost the visual appeal of your new blog website and compel visitors to stay longer and explore other pages on your site.
3. Display Textual Information Effectively
Yet another benefit of having a slider on your website is that it allows you to display text information in an optimal way.
Although sliders are often thought of only for images, they can also be used to effectively display snippets of text, such as customer testimonials, reviews, calls to action, and so on.
For instance, if you develop online courses as part of your business, you can use slides to showcase your newest courses to raise awareness and, hopefully, increase sales.
4. Convey More Information With Less Space
Sliders allow you to incorporate a lot of information in a limited space. Individual slides expand the corresponding text or images only when they come onto the screen, allowing you to convey more information with less space.
You can compress lots of information in each slide, and website users can consume the content on-demand. If they find it helpful, they can continue perusing the rest of your website to find out more.
Below is a great example of a good slider image conveying a lot of information in a limited amount of space. I specifically like the headline as it’s eye-catching and quickly conveys an important message.
When You Should Use a Slider on Your Website
There are certain instances when sliders are a good solution to user experience challenges and other times when they are best avoided.
Let’s take a look at examples of when using a slider on your website is the best thing to do.
- Product Images: Sliders are particularly successful when used for product detail pages on eCommerce sites. They are perfect for presenting products from various angles. This helps to make the online shopping experience more like a physical shop.
- Customer Testimonials: Sliders are also great for displaying customer testimonials in an eye-catching way.
- Dynamically Updating Content: With a slider, you can create innovative pages with real-time content. If you are regularly updating your website, a slider can also help you make new content stand out by highlighting updates.
- Showcase Photo Gallery: Sliders are a great way for businesses to present photo galleries about their brands. You can put together a collection of images to offer compelling evidence of your organization’s value, quality, and trustworthiness.
- Present Portfolios: From artists to web developers, graphic designers, and more, people are often looking for ways to demonstrate your skills and abilities. And sliders are the perfect way to display their work in a flexible format.
Viewers can see however much of the slider they wish, but even if they don’t stay long, visitors at least have a general impression of what you offer when they leave.
Create a Slider That Delivers Results
The guidelines below will help you use sliders in a way that will improve user experience and boost your website conversions.
1. Highlight Discounts: You can use sliders as part of your marketing strategy. Sliders can highlight discounts, promos, and packages on your website. This is a simple and effective tactic for generating more leads and sales. For best results, you can even use social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram for business to share your discounts and get more sales.
2. Use Fewer Slides: When it comes to sliders, less is more. Results from this study, show that most website visitors click on the first three slides.
So, do your best to focus only on three slides, but if you have to include more, then make sure that your first three are the most compelling.
3. Use Motion-Fade: A lot of viewers find the slide-to-slide transition quite sudden and distracting. One way to deal with this problem is to use motion-fade instead.
This leads to a smoother viewing experience and the slow fade-out gives viewers notice that the slide is about to change so they can adjust their thought process and prepare for the coming slide. This makes for a significantly less jarring and more pleasing user experience
I hope this article has answered the question “Should I use a slider on my website? By now, you have a better understanding of why sliders have amassed such a bad rep in previous years, how they can be used effectively, and the benefits you can enjoy by using them on your website the right way.
Does the idea of using a slider on your website appeal to you? Sound off in the comments!