You may have noticed that carousels (a.k.a. sliders) aren’t so popular anymore. There’s a good reason for this (several, actually!). I’m gonna tell ya why I may never in good conscience build one again.
One of my favorite-ever clients came to me for more work recently and mentioned she wanted to add a carousel to her header. I sent her to shouldiuseacarousel.com (mah dear, you’re lovely and I treasure you, but the answer is NO).
You may be thinking: Hold up, hold up, hold up, Nat!
Aren’t slideshows FUN?
Aren’t they a solid way to present people with a lot of useful information in a compact space, yo?
And my answer is NOOO to both.
In fact, carousels have been proven to lower your conversions — drastically. And most people effing hate ‘em.
Let’s dig deeper into the myths, bust open their skulls, and clear away the dust. Oh, and also, let’s explore more why carousels are the worst thing since Comic Sans.
Why you should kill your carousel
“Aren’t slideshows FUN and engaging?”
Um. No. In fact, most people find them irritating. And most times you see a slideshow, it’s kinda done horribly: it’s on the homepage, the slides advance automatically, too quickly, and/or show too much information.
Whatever happened to being practical? To putting the user first?
Carousels certainly don’t! They put crap first, users last. (Since we’re being blunt.)
Bottom line: carousels make a lot of people wanna punch their $3,000 Macbook Pro.
“Aren’t they a solid way to present people with a lot of useful information in a compact space, yo?”
Long answer: studies show that only 1% of visitors clicked on a slide, and 89% clicked on the first one. Again: ONE PERCENT of people clicked on the damn slide, and that was only on the first slide. The rest of the slides essentially got swallowed up into internet oblivion. Don’t let this happen to your content.
…And did I mention carousels are accessibility and usability hell?
Oh, accessibility. In other words, making your website accessible to all your visitors, including people who use keyboard and screen readers, like the blind or those with a cognitive impairment. They’re gonna have a very hard time with your dumb carousel (sorry, was that harsh?).
And usability — how good or shitty a time people have interacting with your website, basically. How easy it is to read your copy, how annoying to find that search bar or contact form, and so on.
A user trying to access information is NOT gonna be hoping you have a carousel they have to rush themselves to half-read through, you can beat your sweet ass on that much.
…They also f*ck with your SEO
Yep: they do this through alternating headings (H1, etc.), using Flash (can you believe that shiz still exists?!), and slowing down loading speed. No bueno!
Psst… by the way, here’s how to boost your SEO.
…And slaughter your conversions
Over and over, it’s been shown that carousels stab conversions in the face, especially on a homepage. Reasons span from them taking attention away from what’s really important on your website (like your products!) to being plain-ol’ confusing and frustrating.
…But, but… Amazon uses them. So does Apple.
Yes, I know. But neither you nor I are Amazon or Apple. Plus, chances are their carousels are working against them (hardcore) anyway. Companies like Adobe, Gap, and Hilton have already left ‘em behind and put static content in their place.
So let’s stick to best practices instead of following fads, sassypants.
OK OK but seriously — NEVARRR?
All right, here’s where we might consider, perhaps, maybe, bending the rule:
- If your carousel doesn’t advance automatically from one slide to another so the user can easily do it while controlling the speed (you’d need to provide a pause link or button)
- If you are using it to display very short amounts of relatively unimportant copy, such as testimonials, instead of images
Listen, I used to offer a carousel as a feature in one my website packages (because they’re popular and back then I didn’t know the damage they were doing). I’ve even made a few for clients who were dead-set on ’em. And ultimately, it’s your call whether you wanna make your visitors froth at the mouth with carousel rage or not.
But knowing that every time your carousel loads a puppy loses its mother, I’m hoping you’ll agree carousels need to be shot in the left temple.