Let's consider the carousel: unless you’re still young enough to be picked up and perched onto one of the horses, you’re only on it because someone else is making you go along for the ride. You’re over it before you even make a full rotation, and that’s exactly how web sliders make people feel. Whether it’s online or IRL, there is nothing “merry” about making people go around in circles.
Before the digital industry started coining terms like “User Experience”, websites looked like the job board at your local coffee shop: a collage of information without any structure. Sliders were introduced to clean up some of the clutter and add a little HTML 3 pizazz, problem ~stylishly~ solved! The thing is, the web was still a new frontier for a lot of people back then, whereas now it’s where we spend most of our time.
With our time being precious, sites need to provide fast and clear direction. Let’s spin it like this: If you want to know which amusement park near you has a carousel, you don’t want to hit a site’s homepage and wait for the 6th slider to rotate through to tell you that they have one.
4 Reasons Sliders Don’t Work (A Slideshow)
Skimming through and looking for a list? So are most readers, and that’s exactly why this isn’t actually a slideshow. That’s right, we lied to you. We feel bad about it, so let us bless you with some cold hard truth as to why sliders actually do suck.
- If You Ain’t First, You’re Last
- Only around 1 percent of users even bother to click on a particular feature, and nearly 90 percent of those clicks come from the very first slide. If users aren’t clicking on any of the other slides, it’s because they don’t even wait around to see them. Patience is a virtue…?
- Sliders Discriminate (they can’t help it, they’re from a different day and age)
- Moving elements in a user interface are harder for people with motor skill issues, low-literacy and international users who read at a slower pace, and just about anybody with a lack patience. If the information is inaccessible, it might as well not exist at all.
- They Perpetuate Banner Blindness
- Most of the time, media sliders just look like ads. Users simply breeze over banners without even stopping for a glance. Still seem like a good place to put your most important information?
- Sliders Affect Site Speed
- We’re talking road spikes here, not speed bumps, especially on mobile devices. When fewer elements contain more content, your site slows down dramatically. Say goodbye to mobile users, anyone with slower internet connection, and let’s not forget the whole patience thing. So yeah, just say goodbye to users altogether.
Want Conversions? Ditch The Slider For Something That Works
While the appeal of a slider is certainly understandable - displaying a range of related photos in one spot that should otherwise be unmissable - the fact is they just don’t work. You’re much better off replacing that same element with something that gets the job done while still offering the same basic feature.
- Everybody Needs A Hero
- A well-executed hero image serves as the very first glimpse of your site most visitors encounter, and should combine everything from your unique personality to a laser-focused look at just what you offer and why users might want to learn more. Pair that with a powerful CTA and you’ve got a static header image that actually attracts more clicks than any slider.
- Go Fullscreen
- A fullscreen background image on your landing page has huge potential to be both inspiring and enlightening for first-time visitors just getting to know your brand - not to mention highly effective as an above-the-fold CTA spot. Since this style of CTA jives smoothly with mobile performance, you can eliminate those mobile issues found on most sliders with one simple, engaging image. (Pro tip: try using a fullscreen video background for that added flair.)
- Make Your High School Art Teacher Proud
- Sometimes, a group of photos just go together naturally - but getting users to click through each one in a slider can be like pulling teeth. Instead, consider using a photo collage, which condenses all of those individual photos into one pleasant header image. That way, all photos will be seen each and every time the page is opened.
- Always Respect Royalty
- With all of the alternatives to sliders we listed above, make sure to remember that content is still the king. Answer your users questions before they ask them, make it personable, and make them want to read more.
The Only Sliding You Should Be Doing In 2017
Look, it’s not 2003 anymore. Flashy features like sliders may have seemed like a new and cool idea then, but we’re not novices at navigating the web anymore. These days, features like sliders are finally known for what they really are: bulky, slow, and usually pointless. It’s time to say goodbye to the slider once and for all, and Altos is more than happy to help make that a reality. We’re happy we ditched sliders, and we know you will be too. Slide Into Our DMs and see how we can make your site work the way it should.