Does Your Website’s Homepage Need a Slider?
Sliders, carousels, or rotating banners. Whatever you call want to them, they appear just about everywhere online. They highlight important pieces of content on websites. But are they beneficial or are they causing more problems than they solve? In this post, we’ll find out.
How Did Homepage Sliders Start?
Most businesses don’t just sell one product or service online, but several. They might have a few they focus on but generate revenue through less popular services.
You also want to make your users stay on your site for as long as possible. Why go through the trouble of narrowing down your product and service range to one key offering when you can make three, four or even more.
Now your visitors can see everything you have to offer, thereby reducing the chances they’ll click off your site, right? Wrong.
Why Shouldn’t You Use Sliders?
Essentially, the use of the sliders and carousels came to be through the reluctance of making decisions. While they are still used on millions of websites and continue to feature on many new websites, there is slow downward trend.
And it’s with good reason. Their common use has given researchers opportunities to conduct usability studies on how users interact with sliders. Or rather – don’t. As a result, sliders are often dubbed a “conversion killer” by usability studies.
It comes down to concept called “banner blindness”.
Humans naturally filter out details we might consider irrelevant. When we walk down the street, we are focussed on our task at hand – going to a shop for this week’s meals or visiting a loved one. We don’t usually notice cracks in the pavement or the scratches off the paintwork on a bus stop.
In a similar way, we tend to tune out anything that looks like an advert like banners. And sliders or carousels look just like an advert, often getting tuned out in favour of other content that helps to achieve their objectives.
This means visitors can often miss important information and offers, leading to frustration of not finding what they want and bounce to somewhere else where they can.
Your Visitors Won’t Interact With Sliders
A study by Erik Runyon showed that after 3.8 million homepage visits, just 1.07% clicked a feature on the slider. And after the first slide, the click-through-rates just get lower and lower.
Research giant Nielsen Norman Group meanwhile, concluded that the vast majority of website users stopped viewing sliders after slides 3 and 4. They also found that sliders are “plagued by low discoverability and sequential access”.
And since the world is progressively surfing online on mobile with 55.43% of all traffic on a mobile device in 2020, sliders are only going to remain plagued with low discoverability.
The Frustration of Automation Rotation
If frustrating your visitors wasn’t enough, prepare to annoy them that little bit more by automatically moving to the next slide when they weren’t finished with the first.
We’ve seen this on some websites when there’s a request from management to show visitors the offerings as quickly as possible. But all this does is take control away from the visitor.
Another key aspect to websites that is often an afterthought is accessibility. People with motor skill difficulties, dyslexia or those who use English as a second language can find it particularly tricky to read your copy before deciding to click on your call-to-action button before the next slide takes its place.
You run the credible risk of not being able to engage with people from various demographics by trying to show more content with a slider.
What Should I Use Instead of a Slider or Carousel?
Get to know your users and make a single compelling offering. Use unique selling points that make you stand out from your competitors, but something you customers want.
Be bold and use branding to engage your target audience to attract more leads and conversions to sales.