The Demise of the Slider?

Ever since social media has embarked on it's global technological takeover, commercial websites have had to re-double their efforts to compete. Basic static informative layout is a thing of the past and more exciting and visually appealing websites were created with amongst other things, the introduction of sliders.

A slider (or carousel) is a set of large images placed at the top of the front page of the website. These then automatically interchange with one another after a set period of time to the next slide in the sequence. These seem like a great idea; you can incorporate different segments of info into one space and it adds a cool moving feature to your website. However, many observations and reports regarding website traffic and UX suggest that sliders may actually be having a negative effect on your website.

Slowing down the site: Although only one image is shown at a time, the website still has to load all the slides before the page is fully loaded. Remember that these are probably going to be the largest images in your website, all sat on top of each other with coding to make them interchange after a certain amount of time. This is a lot of information for your already busy website to process so naturally it is going to slow the site down, especially when it then has to be modified for mobile use as well.

Often ignored: Reports show that people visiting the website unconsciously ignore the sliders at the top of the homepage. Their brain automatically processes them as ‘adverts’ and tells you to ignore them. This is a concept known as ‘Banner Blindness’ which sounds bizarre, but completely true!

Right/ Wrong Info: When visitors come to a website it’s very rare that they are there to enjoy the view. They come looking for specific information to answer the query they have. Should they come to the page and see the first slider and it’s the information they are looking for, great! However, they can now only read it for ten seconds before it disappears. They’ll then have to click back or try to manually find the page that information is on. Guess what… we’re all lazy so that’s not going to happen! Oddly, this works exactly the same way if it’s the wrong information. The slides will always be there for too long, or not long enough.

Option Overload: IF people stay around long enough to see all the slides, they are greeted by a number of different options and locations of the website they can travel to

  • · Which one do they choose?
  • · What if they’ve forgotten what’s on the second slide?

There’s simply too many options loaded together in a short space of time.

Design Laziness: Ultimately, there will always be pro’s and con’s of any feature you use in your website and everyone will have a different opinion on it. From a designers point-of-view, they’ll always be stuck in the middle of different departments all wanting to get their message out and shout the loudest. The easiest route to appease them all of course is to have a slider where everyone can have a piece of the pie – but latest analysis is showing that this is a kop-out. Decent SEO will rank all their pages for proper keyword terms in any case so that’s one problem solved!

Think about your brand, think about the message, THE ONE SINGLE message that defines your brand and what you’re trying to say and use that, and nothing else.

Do away with your slider and it may ultimately contribute to the success of your website.