An Argument Against Images Sliders and Carousels

A feature that is pretty common these days is the classic home page image carousel. This is the section on the home page of a website that rotates through several headlines and large images. You’ve probably seen this on many websites. You might even use it on your own website. It’s arguably a bad thing. There are better ways to do things. Let’s take a look at the possible negative effects that using a carousel on the home page (or any page) can introduce.

  1. Performance – Carousels typically have large impacts on load times. A carousel that loads 5 slides will have to load 5 high quality images along with the Javascript to power the slider effect. If the goal of your home page is speed, that can bring you down quite a bit.
  2. SEO – The way that Carousels are typically coded makes it possible for your home page to have multiple, different H1 headings for each slider panel on the home page of your website. That is a bad thing for SEO – the best practice is to have only one H1 heading per web page.
  3. Carousel Interaction Stats are BadJust go here and read this. Basically only about 1% of users even click on carousel images, on average.
  4. Actual Content Gets Buried – If the content you really want users to see is being pushed way down the page by the carousels, you might want to revisit your usage of carousels.

If carousels are so bad, then what should we be doing instead? It comes down to how we want to engage the users. Some ideas:

  • Create a feature that guides different user personas into the proper areas of the website.
  • Use calls to action in place of a carousel.
  • If you must use a carousel, do it correctly and use a label-based navigation instead of arrow-based.

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