Content sliders can effectively showcase creative content and improve a website’s visuals, but only if used correctly. Unnecessary slideshows waste valuable space and increase a website’s loading time. The fastest slider plugin can load within half a second and the slowest can take up to five seconds. Adding one to a website just for the sake of keeping up with a trend is never a good idea. Consider the following do’s and don’ts before hastily jumping onto the slideshow bandwagon.
Do Have an Overall Theme for a Single Slider
Don’t mix-and-match content in a single slider. Displaying an event banner on one slide, product or service information in the second, and a contact form in the third might overwhelm or confuse users. Sliders are ideal for displaying visual content that falls under one encompassing theme, such as a showcase of different photos of a single product, or an image gallery in a portfolio. Sliders can also be useful for displaying step-by-step processes, as visitors will more likely navigate to the next slide to proceed.
Do Avoid Using Sliders for Important Calls to Action
Sliders are great for product shots, galleries displaying on-location photos, and product tours, but they might not be the best way to deliver multiple calls to action. A study on B2B websites showed a low click percentage on items included in their sliders, ranging from 0.16% to 0.65%. Avoid using sliders for critical calls to action such as sign-ups, purchasing, and driving traffic.
Do Limit the Number of Slides
Limit the number of slides to 3-5. Visitors rarely go through all of a slider’s content manually, and are likely to lose interest after the fourth or fifth slide.
Don’t Use Automatic Sliders
Automatic sliders may seem to be the solution to the lack of interaction with content that come after the first slide, but they can be irritating to visitors. The automated movement can make a slider seem more like a banner ad, which increases the likelihood of visitors ignoring the slider completely.
Another reason automated sliders are rarely appealing is it violates one of the most important rules in user interface design: users need to be in control.
Don’t Forget to Include Visible and Functional Navigation Elements
A slider should have navigation options that give users full control of what they see. These should include toggle options (usually in the form of directional arrows) that allow users to move between slides in an ordered sequence, and quick navigation options that allow them to select a specific slide to view. Quick navigation options can be simple dots or numbers that represent each slide, or thumbnails that allow users to preview what the other slides contain. These navigation elements should be easy to find and use. This lets users know they’re looking at an image slider that they can interact with, and not a static image.
Don’t Use Fancy Effects and Styles
Let the slider’s content do the talking. Use simple transition and overlay effects to avoid distracting or irritating users and keep them focused on the slider’s visual content.
Some web developers and designers argue that using content sliders is never a good idea, but keeping these do’s and don’ts in mind can help you use a slider to highlight your website’s visual content effectively.