Do you have a slider on your website? If so, you’re not alone. Website sliders, also called carousels or slideshows, are everywhere on the Internet. This has been a very popular feature in web design for years; however, if you have a slider, it may be causing some serious issues for your website.
Here, we’ll take a look at some of the issues sliders cause on websites and some possible slider alternatives to consider.
What is a Slider?
A slider, also referred to as a carousel or slideshow, just that—a slide show that displays images on a website. These are usually located on the homepage or landing page.
Sliders were once thought to be a revolutionary element for website design. Designers touted the slider as a great way to engage with site visitors. A lot of effort was put into creating beautiful displays of all kinds. It was thought to be a stylish, modern addition to websites.
And designers back in the day said sliders were best placed above the fold, to grab site visitors’ attention. However, over time, it’s become apparent that carousels actually cause more problems for a website, ultimately leading to poor traffic and user experience.
1). Sliders Slow Down Your Page
Did you know that sliders slow your site’s speed? The fact is that sliders require a lot of coding to provide those nice images and animated transition effects. Also consider the fact the transition takes time to load, which further slows down the loading speed.
What happens if your site pages are loading slowly? For one thing, the search engines will not be happy. Consider the fact that Google encourages fast loading page and penalises sites that are slow. What’s the penalty? Your site will show up lower in the search ranking, which usually results in lower traffic to the site.
Another issue is that site users may quickly become frustrated with the site and go elsewhere. Studies have shown that site users expect a website to load in 2-3 seconds. If your site takes longer, site visitors may well go to a competitor’s site, resulting in lost business for you.
2). Banner Blindness
Banner blindness a real thing. The Internet has been around for a while now, and savvy users have learned to avoid those website elements that resemble ads or seem useless for their needs. In other words, anything that resembles a banner ad, including a slider, is simply ignored.
People aren’t usually visiting a site to look at a nice carousel of images. Instead, they’re looking for information, purchasing product or services, and more. Sliders are not useful to them, so site users avoid them and move on to those parts of the page or site that are more important.
If you have ads on a slider, then the click-through rate will be extremely low. The images may change too quickly, serve up too many offers (which is distracting & frustrating), and finally banner blindness keeps site visitors from clicking on the carousel.
3). Sliders Offer Distractions
When visitors come to your website, their attention will first be grabbed by the slider. This is because movement attracts the human eye, which was used by our early ancestors to see and void predators. We’re still hardwired in this way, so anything moving on a webpage tends to grab our attention first. This means more important web elements are missed, which includes content, CTAs, and more.
Not only that, but if a slider contains advertisements, then site users aren’t sure which ad to pay attention to. This is also a distraction, and one that can also cause frustration. The ads in the carousel may change too quickly, so site visitors don’t have enough time to read each ad.
4). Sliders are Not Compatible with Mobile Devices
According to Statista, about 50.81% of all web traffic, between 2015 & 2020, has come from people using mobile devices. For this reason, your site needs to be designed in such a way that mobile users also have a great experience. Otherwise, your site will lose a chance to bring in those 50.81% of web traffic, meaning your business may suffer.
It’s a fact that sliders don’t work well for mobile devices. The reasons for this are the text is usually too small to read, images don’t render properly, and load times (as we saw earlier) are considerably lower.
Even if a site is built with response design, the carousel only causes problems for mobile users. So, if mobile users come to your site, experience loading issues, they’ll leave quickly. Your site traffic will suffer, as will conversion rates, search engine ranking, and more.
5). Sliders Don’t Provide Accessibility
When it comes to accessibility, sliders only make things more challenging. For those who have disabilities, sliders make it more difficult to interact with your website. The goal (as well as the law) is that a website should be easily accessed by everyone.
Noncompliance not only hurts your website traffic, but you could also end up with legal problems, too. Your site needs to be accessible to everyone—everyone deserves to be treated equally on the site and have easy access to content and to interact with the site.
What can be used instead of sliders? Let’s take a look:
Make important message prominent & accessible: static messages and CTAs work best. Rather than placing a number of offers in a slider, the most important message is used in a call-out. Then a large, clear button is prominently placed to gain attention and show site visitors what to do next.
This makes it much easier to get the main message across with no distraction or frustration, while ensuring accessibility for everyone.
Video & animations: you can add some interactive elements to the site by using animated GIFs and video. In this scenario, it’s still possible to provide necessary content/information to site users. However, they have the choice to view the video/animation or not.
Video and animations provide users with information quickly and in a method that’s easily digestible. Plus, if they don’t want to take the time to watch the animation/video, they can move on to other areas of the site where they can find what they need or want. Site users have the power of choice.
Use a full-page background image: by using a full-page background image combined with some excellent typography, you create something that grabs site visitors’ attention. However, nothing moves at all. Instead, the user scrolls down the page to find additional information or a link to the information they want. You still have the opportunity to get across an important message, without making even mobile site visitors frustrated.
By skipping the slider and using an alternative, your site pages will load faster, which leads to higher ranking in the search engines. That in turn gets more traffic to your site and keeps site users happy with a web design they can control. And you have a better opportunity to get your message across.
These are changes for the better. Your site traffic will increase and convert better, which ultimately helps your business to grow, too.
Liam is a website designer and digital marketer based in Leeds, West Yorkshire. He spent a decade working within the charity sector before moving into the marketing space a number of years ago. Liam always strives to do something slightly different with every project and always designs to deliver results, not just pretty websites.