Carousels, sliders or slideshows – whatever you call them, are the montage of images that rotate on homepages of websites today. So, how effective are they, and do they generate more business as a result?

What our clients say…

They look flashy.’

They look cool.’

‘Our competitors have one.’

‘We need to get many different messages across.’

‘All good websites have one.’

These are some of the comments shared by our clients during their initial website discovery session with us. Of course, they all want a unique website that interacts with their customers and delivers a return on investment, but homepage carousels are not the best way to achieve this.

Homepage Carousels – 6 reasons why don’t they work

  1. Moving images are a distraction
    • The continual movement of the carousel distracts the reader away from the important messages your website should be getting across, such as your value proposition and how you help your customers.
  2. Overwhelm leads to customers tuning out
    • Customers are so used to being bombarded with ads that they now subconsciously tune out, skipping over the changing images and messages. It’s actually known as ‘banner blindness’.
  3. Information overload leads to customer confusion
    • Too many messages, too many pictures and all too quickly! Readers can’t keep up with the content as businesses often try to cram too much into a small space.
  4. Lack of optimization leads to poor accessibility
    • Most carousels are not optimized for anyone that has a visual impairment. As an example, they could find reading small text very difficult or not able to distinguish letters or colours properly. For them, carousels are an accessibility minefield.
  5. Poor mobile optimization leads to poor user experience
    • On a desktop, carousel images can look great, but what about on mobile? The images lose impact as they are shrunk to fit the screen and are difficult to swipe through.
  6. Slow loading time leads to customer frustration
    • Google suggests that the optimal page load time is under two seconds, which is the threshold for e-commerce accessibility. A slider is not only built of images but also the coding necessary to make it work – the cumulative effect of which can be a very slow page load.

Homepage Carousels – The science bit

In fact, the University of Notre Dame ran a study on their website to determine the effectiveness of its homepage carousel and found that out of the 3.7m people who visited their homepage, only 1% clicked on an item on the slider. Adding insult to injury, 89% of those clicks were on the slide in the first position.

Homepage Carousels – 4 things to try as an alternative 

  1. Punchy personalized content – use precise to the point content that talks to your audience in the right way with one primary message and a clear call to action.    
  2. Great graphics – a picture speaks 1000 words as they say, so use graphics to tell your story and showcase your proposition.
  3. Static images – for the personal touch, use company images showing you and your products or services. Carefully consider the images you use and ensure they are less than 300kb in size for efficient downloading.
  4. Increased interaction via video or animation – grab your customers attention with useful information that answers their questions.

The result? More interaction, increased clicks, good conversion rate and return on investment.

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A design and marketing communications agency.