Using image sliders (carousels) on your website

Using image sliders (carousels) on your website

If you google "effectiveness of image sliders" you will find pages of results that explain why sliders are bad for conversions on websites that date back to 2013 when these first became a fad. We nearly always advise against the use of sliders but the BigFish platform does provide option

Wednesday 14th March 2018

Best practice? Don't use sliders at all!

Here are a few reasons why image sliders on a website are a bad idea:

  1. They simply do not get looked at. There are many studies that show that visitors ignore parts of a website that look too much like an advertisement or banner - its called "Banner Blindness". 
  2. They divide attention from a single message which makes the main call to action less clear or inviting and reduces your conversions.
  3. Even if the visitor does read the content on a slider, they often slide before that content has been digested, taking away control from the user and causing quite a bit of frustration.
  4. The movement can distract from other content on the page.
  5. They take up a lot of loading time and usually don't work well on mobile devices, both of which can hamper the websites' SEO and user experience.

More often than not, the request for a slider is a symptom of an unclear goal for a website page, and this is likely to lead to a missed opportunity to make a sale or gain a lead.  We suggest the use of a single image and call to action to deliver a clear message to any potential visitors.

If there are multiple offers to present to visitors, then we suggest different pages for each one either as part of the website or as specific landing pages. That way any promotion or advertising can target these specific pages and the message delivered to those arriving is 100% targetted and sharp.

What if I want to display multiple images?

If there is a good reason to display multiple images, then we normally recommend placing the images vertically stacked on the page, each with a message or call to action associated with each. This does go against the rule of keeping important content "above the fold", but in the age of mobile connectivity, users are very used to the vertical scroll. Its a much better user-experience to scroll down at will to the next image rather than have an image automatically slide left or right.

Insisting on a slideshow? Here's a good compromise.

For clients that insist on the use of a slider on their website pages, we have a good solution that bridges the middle ground between a single call to action and a slider. Our preferred solution in these cases is to keep the written text and call to action on the page static, but allow a slideshow in the background (see our Moorish example).

BigFish Options

Despite our obvious reluctance to use image sliders, we decided to build in slider functions into the BigFish platform. Owners of BigFish websites can easily create sliders in the following ways:

  1. As the main banner to a website page. Our slider system allows a single text area and call to action button that remains static on top of a slideshow of images that act as a background. These images will rotate through using a gentle fade effect to minimise any distracting movements to visitors (see our Moorish example).
  2. Blogs or news "teasers" displayed as a banner. Our system does offer the feature to easily display a "feed" from your blog or news section that outputs images and introductions in the form of a slidershow banner. This can be used on any page but would typically be used on the homepage. We normally prefer the use of other display methods (such as a grid) but this banner approach can work for magazine style websites (see our Fantail example or Harlequin).
  3. Inisde a blog item, news article or product. Quite often, a blog or a news article requires multiple images and these can be easily placed in the body of the content. However to take advantage of bigger screens, the BigFish system makes it super easy to add as many images as desired to the main image area. These images will show in a pop-up slideshow when the main image is clicked, so it's a little different to a banner and a great tool for displaying those beautiful images that should be large/full screen! This feature is an essential tool for product display, allowing visitors to really see the product properly.