Think you want sliders in your web page design? Think again.
Ah, image sliders. Once upon a time, they were a must-have component of any successful web page design. Popular opinion dictated that these beautiful (and sometimes helpful) website design techniques must appear on everyone’s homepage. The problem was that they actually detracted from a visitor’s experience and worked against you. Here are 5 reasons why …
People tend to ignore image sliders
Most users come to a webpage looking for something specific. Image sliders only distract them. You might think visitors to your website would like a series of cool photos in constant rotation on your homepage, but trust me (and the people who conduct usability studies,) they don’t. According to Lee Duddell, the Founder and UX Director at WhatUsersDo, a usability testing firm:
“Rotating image sliders are next to useless for users … and often ‘skipped’ because they look like advertisements.”
Duddell continues to state that in web page design, sliders are “a good technique for getting useless information on a homepage.¹” As you can imagine, this is quite counterproductive to what you actually want: putting the most important information in front of your visitor as quickly as possible.
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Sliders generally don’t work well on mobile devices – regardless of responsive web design
Did you know that 60% of all internet traffic comes from mobile phones – and that percentage is only expected to grow (according to mobile search and marketing statistics for 2018). That means that a user’s experience on their mobile device is of paramount importance. It’s also something that needs to be accounted for in your web page design.
There are myriad reasons that sliders don’t work well on mobile devices, including teeny text, misaligned images, and long load times (more on that later). Whatever the reason, if your website designer put a slider as the first thing people see on the home page, there’s a good chance people won’t stay on your site for long enough to take the action you want … ie, buying something or scheduling an appointment. Which brings us to the next issue with sliders:
Image sliders are made for display, not action
(and let’s be honest – “action” is what you really, really want)
In the prehistoric times of the internet (aka the late 1990s), websites were such a novelty that people would spend lots of time scrolling around, looking at images and animated gifs, waiting for pages to load, and oohing and aahing at the wonder of it all.
Those days are long gone. Now, people rely on the internet to find things they want, research them, and take action. If your website can’t provide that, people will happily move onto one that can (or get distracted by funny cat videos on YouTube).
Creating a site that gets a visitor to take action is the most important part of successful web page design.
When a visitor takes action, this is known as a “conversion.” The higher your conversion rate, the more business you get from leads, sales, appointments, etc. What a slider does is pour freezing cold water on the warm excitement felt by your potential customer when they visit your site. Recent usability studies show that less than 1% of users click on the images in a rotating slider; which is just sad, certainly for the slider, but even more so for your company.
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Image sliders may annoy your potential customers
First, let’s establish the fact that everyone is in a huge hurry these days. We demand efficiency in all things – especially in web page design. Now, let’s imagine the experience of a potential customer or client visiting your homepage. When they arrive, they are greeted with a large image slider. Sure, it’s pretty to look at – but it probably doesn’t provide the information they need in the mere instant it takes for someone to decide if they’re staying on a website.
Or, even worse, the slider does have the information your visitor needs. However, by the time they move the mouse (or finger) to click on it, the slider has moved. Now, instead of going to a page they want to see, they are on something completely different. While some people might click “back,” most visitors will just get annoyed, leave your site, and head over to Facebook instead.
This sort of experience with sliders is such an issue in website design, they have been deemed by some to be “the scourge of home page design.” Which means sliders do not equate to good web page design, at all.
Sliders slow down your page and fail site speed tests
Site speed is of paramount importance these days. As we previously established, everyone is in a hurry these days. No one wants to wait for a website to load – especially not on a mobile device. In fact,
47 percent of consumers expect a web page to load in two seconds or less. 40 percent of consumers will wait no more than three seconds for a web page to render before abandoning the site. ³
If sliders are so bad for conversions, why do people use them in web page design?
Full disclosure, we have used sliders in our web design services. Even though they don’t convert, they are nice to look at. More importantly, our clients sometimes insist on them. And that’s ok. We’re here to offer you our opinion from a web design company standpoint, but in the end, it’s your decision. That said, here’s what Karl Gilis, owner of AGConsult and renowned conversion expert, has to say:
“Sliders only exist because web designers love them. And because they make the life of the web team easy: they can give every department or product division a place on the homepage. And they don’t have to make choices.
But it’s not your job to make your colleagues happy. It’s your job to make your visitors happy. And to sell. And that’s the biggest problem with sliders: they don’t convert. Never did and never will. ²”
So, have we swayed you? Will you be using a slider in your next web page design project? Let us know in the comments.