In your time on the internet, you would have definitely come across a carousel. Whether you know them as carousels, sliders, banners or a slideshow, they all essentially mean the same thing.
As an example, this popular air conditioning company uses a carousel for the hero image.
To learn more about carousels, the pros and cons and how best to use them, read on!
What is a carousel?
As shown, a carousel refers to any part of the website that acts like a slideshow.
More often than not, they’re used to show different images for one reason or another and they’re extremely useful for businesses that want to show a variety of photographs in a small space.
When you’re wanting to show a range of products in maybe different colours or styles, there’s no better way than with a carousel.
Why are they controversial?
So, why the love hate? We’ve said that they can be helpful if you’re wanting to show content, so why are some people really against them?
Read on below for the pros and cons!
They save space
As I’ve mentioned before, they save space, which is not only good for keeping people engaged, but is also good for making sure your webpage isn’t 3 miles long.
If you have a product which has a lot of options, it doesn’t make sense to take up a lot of room, does it?
They keep people engaged
Having something that slides can catch your users eye and keep them interested for longer.
You may find that having sliding images keep users lingering on a particular section for longer. Depending on the content you have on these sliding images, this gives you more of a chance to convince them to choose your company over others.
Having a nice carousel also gives the page a bit of a break from text, which some users can really appreciate. In fact, did you know that 37% of people prefer images over text?
They help users control content
With carousels, there is almost always the option to allow users to use them at their own pace, or even skip them altogether if that’s something that they are wanting to do.
Allowing users this option ensures that the carousel doesn’t hinder their experience, but actually enhances it.
They can be a victim of banner blindness
In today’s society where ads are more and more prevalent with each passing day, sometimes we can become banner blind.
Often, people associate carousels and sliders with banner ads, which as you can imagine, isn’t a great thing. This means that it’s relatively easy for a user to ignore any carousels they see.
They slow down pages
Carousels can have a real impact on page loading speed if left unchecked. This may not seem like a big deal, however loading speed can actually effect SEO and also conversion rates negatively if it takes too long. In fact, 53% of visits are abandoned if a mobile site takes longer than three seconds to load. 3 seconds!
They don’t always look great responsively
Simply put, some carousels just don’t like particularly pleasant on a mobile. As you can imagine, making certain images long and thin doesn’t particularly work all the time.
When can you use them?
With carousels and sliders being so controversial, some instances lend themselves to the use of one over others.
If they only confuse and frustrate your website users, then obviously, they shouldn’t be used as they would be rather detrimental to your user experience. However, if they help explain your business in a clear and concise way, then they can definitely enhance your user experience.
Every business is unique, so this is something that only you (and your users!) can decide for your business.
There’s no arguing that sometimes, a single, large, full bleed image can do wonders for your website. But that doesn’t mean that a collection of images would be wrong.
Sometimes, a collection of images can build further trust and rapport with your audience, and as you will know, trust and rapport are key to any brand.
Displaying your portfolio
Similarly to the above point, users want to see the full range of what you and your business are capable of.
A carousel means that your users can see as much or as little of what they want. This keeps them engaged and focused the whole time, by making sure that those who want more information can get it, whilst not boring the ones who don’t need that amount of content.
Making content stand out
A carousel can easily show a first time user what your website has to offer. This allows them to take in the information that is important quickly, which also means quick decision making.
Most often, you can see this in the form of when websites have a news updates carousel or something similar. With every sliding update, users are sure to know that the content is consistently fresh.
Overall, every business and every business’ website is different. By starting with your particular users needs and wants, sliders can create a real immersive experience.