I’ve been advising against using carousels (or sliders) for a while now. It seems like I’ve been talking about it more and more recently though. In fact, just this past week I’ve had “The Carousel Talk” with two clients who wanted to add them to their sites.
It’s a perfectly legitimate request. Carousels are all over the internet, so they must work, right?
No. Let me explain why.
Why Not Use A Carousel?
There are many articles that speak to how ineffective carousels are. In a nutshell, they’re complex, damage SEO, and kill conversions. But worst of all, they’re starting to look dated towards the end of 2015.
Carousels Are Ineffective
The reason carousels do not work is because the theory behind carousels is wrong. The theory is that home page visitors will hang around long enough to see each of the messages. In fact, the vast majority of website visitors will only spend a few precious seconds on a home page before either navigating into the site, or leaving it. They typically never see all the carousel images.
Carousels Damage SEO
Carousels impact SEO in a number of ways:
Speed – Carousels slow down websites. Speed is one of the key factors that Google judges a website on. It is not a good user experience either.
Mobile Problems – Sliders don’t always work well on mobile devices. Even when they do work they are often slow. Both of these are issues are bad when it comes to SEO, particularly given some of Google’s latest algorithm changes (which place even great emphasis on mobile friendly content).
Carousels are effective at being able to tell people in Marketing/Senior Management that their latest idea is on the home page. Use them to put content that users will ignore on your Home Page. Or, if you prefer, don’t use them. Ever.Should I Use A Carousel?
They’re Looking Dated
Web design, like any other type of design, goes through different trends. Remember web 2.0 with it’s rounded corners, gradients, and icons for nearly everything? Or, even further back, the flaming toaster screensaver?
I think that carousels are heading down the path of these past trends. Carousels will soon come to define the design trend of the past.
No one wants to look out of touch, and carousels are beginning to look out of touch.