When building your site and selecting which elements you could add to make it more appealing to users, one common element that many people like to use is the famous CAROUSEL.
The carousel, slider, rotator, slideshows, or which ever way you can call them, are often liked by designers but discouraged by developers and CRO specialists.
So, Is Using A Carousel A Good Idea?
Well, a carousel is liked by designers because it would look great on several websites by showing multiple pieces of content in a very stylish way and with good animation.
On the other hand, developers and CRO specialists do not like these due to the bad impact that they create on sites.
Common issues include:
- Only a small percentage actually click on a slide.
- Content goes unread because readers are not clicking through the whole slider.
- Confuse people by offering multiple items at the same time.
- Easily ignored as being misinterpreted as an ad banner.
- Slow your site and negatively impact SEO and conversion rate
- Don’t always work well on mobile devices.
- Sometimes annoy users by sliding to quickly.
The main idea of a carousel is to grab multiple elements and make them rotate through a specific location so the user can look at multiple things at a fast past.
This idea makes sense, but as a user, the carousel becomes very distracting. Since every element is constantly moving and changing, the information shown losses impact on the user. It would be a lot more user friendly if the user could look around the site on their own and able to click randomly to see different products. However, if the user is more focused on some specific area or if you want to present key information about your company, the carousel wouldn’t be the thing to offer because it would become a distraction or maybe they won’t even take the time to click through.
SEO And CRO
Carousels usually don’t qualify as a smart element for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) or Content Rate Optimization (CRO). Most SEO & CRO experts are against carousel because they normally present issues such as, multiple headers, poor performance, and will lead to fewer sales.
As you know, a carousel or slider is based on multiple slides that are constantly rotating. Each of these slides usually has the same structure based on a title, description, and images. When sliders are used at the top of the page acting as hero images they are usually structured as an H1. This is a big deal for SEO because it makes the H1 repeat through each slide and therefore greatly devalues the keyword relevance.
You should know by now that the more complex your slider is, the slower your site is going to be. This is due to the amount of code that the element is built with, the size of the images, and the special features that might be present, such as the sliding effects. Every single second that a site takes to load hurts the user experience and the search performance.
Most CRO experts would agree that sliders kill conversions. This is due to the way that users interact with the sliders. The users usually go through a couple clicks, if not one, to check things out a bit more, but would never go through the entire element. This makes the user miss important information and lose conversions too. Sometimes this is called a “banner blindness”, which is when the element looks like an ad banner and the user would just skip it over. This interaction not only is bad for the slider but for the whole site as a whole because it pushes down any other information that you have on the site and makes them harder for the user to get it. If you currently have a slider, we recommend you A/B test it.
Carousels and sliders might seem hard to replace, but you can and you should. Even though you may think a slider is a key piece of your site, you should try to take another approach to show your images/products/information. As I said above, most of the information gets lost during the user interaction, so if your information is fundamental for your users it is important to change the layout to present it. If you want to increase your conversions, these options could help you replace your slider/carousel.
- A static image with a Call-To-Action.
- Sign Up Form
If you can’t find a way to replace it, I recommend you push the carousel to the bottom of the page and make it a reasonable size. This would help other elements to create a greater impact on the user’s attention.
Check out www.ShouldIUseACarousel.com, which further supports my opinion on this topic.