Carousels and Sliders – Are They Effective?

WPMUdev‘s article about UX blunders caught my eye because of the section about carousels.  You know, those sliders on the home page that feature different images and content for you to click through?  Two-thirds of my projects in the last three months have contained sliders of one type or another, so I was surprised to see that WPMUdev doesn’t think they work.  In fact they quote this site.

That site quotes the following reports:

WeedyGarden, by Jason Runyon – around 1% of users click anywhere on your home page.  Of the clicks on carousel, the majority are on the first item.  In other words, no one is paying attention to any of the other items.  With only 1% of your visitors clicking on your page at all, a miniscule number will click on your slider.

Nielson Norman Group found that even when a user was told to look for something on a page (a sale) she didn’t see it in the slider.  Their conclusion is user’s “banner-blindness”  – we’ve become accustomed to companies selling us in banners, and the sliders/carousels are basically banners, so we don’t even see them.

Wider Funnel suggests that sliders are less than useful because they don’t address what the user really wants to know – and if it does, it assumes the user will hang around until the topic s/he is interested in appears.

Adam Fellowes reiterated the point about banner blindness and also points out that users scan for trigger words when looking at a home page.  They filter out images automatically.  Since most sliders are image-based, they go unnoticed by users.

This all makes so much sense I’m considering changing the slider on my home page (yes, I have one) to static content.  What do you think about sliders/carousels as a front-page feature?

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