Sliders. Slideshows. Carousels, It doesn’t matter what you call it, website owners love them. And I’ve been trying to convince people to stop using them for a long time. If you look at our portfolio, you’ll see lots of sites with sliders. But it’s not because I tell everyone they should have one. The truth is, your website doesn’t need one and it could be hurting your ROI. Here, for your consideration, I’m going to list the reasons why your site doesn’t need a slider.

Nobody sees more than 2 slides.
This is almost always the case. If your sliders are clickable, it’s almost always the first slide that gets clicked while the others languish. I recently visited a site that had 20 slides in their slider. 20! I guarantee not one single person other than the website owner has seen all those slides. If your goal is to get that information in front of users, then a slider won’t do it. People will scan the website immediately looking for their goal, and if they don’t see it immediately, they won’t wait around for slides to find it.

It’s a waste of space.
Sliders take up a lot of real estate. And while I’ll never advocate for a website that doesn’t scroll, it’s true that your above-the-fold content gets seen a ton more than the below the fold content. If your slider takes up half your above-the-fold real estate, you may be losing people who don’t see what they’re looking for.

They aren’t accessible.
Sliders are near impossible for visually disabled users. If your text is embedded into an image, and that image is sliding, then there is no change a screenreader is reporting that content.

“If sliders are so bad, why does everyone have them?”

That is a GREAT question! The biggest reason so many people have them is because they aren’t able to focus their message to a single most important feature. They can’t figure out what should be the primary focus of their website, so they try to split it between several by putting them in a slider.

It is more than likely that something you offer, sell, or service is the biggest seller you have. That’s what should be your focus because that’s what makes you the most money.

“But I have lots of important stuff! I can’t narrow it down to just one focus!”

I have a solution for this too! Instead of having slider or carousel, you can have four columns with one item in each column. Studies have shown that removing a slider and replacing it with boxed content increased sales and user interaction.

And if you really love the way a slider looks and really want one, even though it’s hurting your conversions? I have some advice for you. Keep the slider, but move it to the bottom of the site.

Sliders can be nice looking and they can add visual interest. But most users don’t interact with them, and your goal is user-interaction most of the time. If you want the look of a slider but don’t want to lose your user, put the slider below the fold.

Want to know if people are clicking on your slider? 
Add a heat map. A heat map can track clicks on your page and show you exactly where your users are clicking on your site, and you’ll know if they are interacting with your slider or not. Another option is to do some A/B testing. Alternately show your users a site with a slider and a site without and see which one gets a better response.

In my opinion, a slider is not only not needed, but is probably hurting your conversion rate.

Amy Masson

Amy is the co-owner, developer, and website strategist for Sumy Designs. She's been making websites with WordPress since 2006 and is passionate about making sure websites are as functional as they are beautiful.

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