Here at Tienda Digital, we have strong opinions on sliders, and rightly so. Just like those annoying pop-up ads that are now only a feature you see on sites you don’t trust, certain sliders should be buried in the internet fad graveyard.
So, why are they so bad and why did website designers even begin using them in the first place? We answer these questions as well as show you what you should be using instead.
Why do website designers use sliders?
There are two main reasons why sliders became popular.
- People think they are aesthetically pleasing and use them on their website purely because they like how they look.
- They remove the need for decision-making. Often, they become the go-to solution when there are more messages to put on the home page than there is room to put them. Rather than make the tough decisions that require defining what the message should be, many turn to the slider as a way of cramming in every message at once.
Why are sliders bad for your website?
1. Sliders negatively impact conversions.
Studies have constantly proven that site visitors do not interact with sliders in the way site owners want them to. In fact, only 1% of site visitors click on a homepage slider, and of those people, 89% of them only click on the first slide. This means the messages in the other slides go totally unnoticed. Eye-tracking studies conducted by Neilson Norman Group also found that because slides move automatically people develop ‘banner blindness’ and ignore them completely as they perceive them as ads.
This means visitors to your site are not clear on your message or what you want them to do. Instead, they are ignoring your content and therefore not engaging with your product or services. Worst still they may consider your site to be ‘spammy’ and disreputable, giving them a poor impression of your brand.
Let’s say users don’t ignore your slider and actually interact with it. What if they only click through half of the slides on your page? They will miss potentially important information on other slides and the message they missed could have been the one that started them on the journey from visitor to customer.
Even if they look at each slide, which message should they pay attention to, and which one is the most important? The message on slide 1 or the message on slide 3? Your user has hardly read one message when the image changes and they must refocus their attention all over again before deciding which message they want to interact with – most visitors to your site are not going to do this. Instead, they are going to visit another site that has a clear message.
If you cannot decide which information is important how are your site visitors supposed to? Using sliders to put in multiple messages only serves to dilute them and make it hard to build trust, the opposite of what your website is supposed to do.
2. They are not accessible.
As sliders often feature moving images, they can pose issues in terms of accessibility, particularly for those with visual impairments. Sliders are often controlled by a series of small arrows that often do not contrast with the image background, making it difficult to see them.
So, if you’re putting the most important information on a slider, it will automatically exclude visitors with visual impairments from easily accessing this information.
When is it okay to use a slider?
There are a few occasions when putting a slider on your page may be beneficial.
- Testimonials – If you have multiple customer testimonials you can put these onto a slider to save space.
- Portfolios/Examples of your work – If you need to show examples of your work or the results of different services you offer, a slider can be a good option. Just make sure you include a link to either a full portfolio page or to individual service pages so your site visitors can look at the information in more detail.
- Photo Gallery – Although we recommend using gallery layouts for this, sliders can be used to show the progress of a build or timeline and add an interactive element for the user.
What can I do instead of using a slider?
If you’re using sliders to cram in information because you can’t decide what message is the most important, you need to spend some time defining your message and deciding exactly what it is you want your customers to do when they visit your website.
Organise the layout of your website, where appropriate create separate pages for products and services, ensure that each page has a clear message and that your calls to action and special offers aren’t hidden.
Creating different pages to provide details about your separate products and services as well as target your different audience segments is the most effective way to reach multiple audiences with targeted offers. It also makes it easy for your visitors to navigate your website and find what they’re looking for, making it more likely they’ll convert into customers.
If you want your visitors to have the most optimal experience on your website, then ditching the sliders is the way to go. Whilst they may seem flashy and modern, they do more harm than good to your website.
If we still have not convinced you that sliders are generally a bad idea when used thoughtlessly, take a look at this great example built by Jared Smith and see how feel afterward… that’s exactly how your site visitors feel trying to navigate the slider on your website.
Ready to build a website or need help with your current website? Contact our team here.