Image Carousels On Websites: Use with Caution
Everyone loves getting a new website. It’s a chance to showcase your business’s services and let the world (and Google) know what you’re all about.
A common problem clients have is what to put on your new homepage for content. You’ve got all of your services organized into pages, with perfect complementary calls to action to generate leads and conversions. But how do you get all that information into the most important page of your website without overwhelming the user?
A common solution is to use a carousel – or image rotator, or image slider, or as one client liked to call it, a “changer-mixer.” On the surface, this seems like a great idea. You can have a big impactful photo with a bold headline and a short description coupled with a meaningful call-to-action to direct the user the right location. However, you may be disappointed when you dive into your site’s analytics only to find that 80% of your users never interact with any slide beyond the first.
Users are generally impatient, they don’t want to wait for a carousel to cycle completely before deciding where to go. While the carousel is busy sliding around, the user will be playing with your site’s main navigation, looking for other ways to get as much information about your business as quickly as possible.
There are a few things you can do to increase the likelihood that a user will interact with your carousel and find the content you want them to find. First, always make sure there are navigation arrows or page dots (or preferably both) to indicate that the slide can be interacted with and the user doesn’t have to wait to see all the content. This will also allow the user to see how much content is in the carousel.
Secondly, never put anything in a carousel that isn’t accessible through another means of navigation. If you put a slide in about a new service or exciting opportunity for a customer, they may never see it if it’s only navigable through a slide later in the carousel.
Lastly, don’t forget to consider mobile users. Image carousels, by design, usually have large high-quality images and supporting text. These images all have to be loaded by the web browser behind the scenes before the carousel can start rotating images. Additionally, the text overlaid on the rotator needs to be arranged in such a way that it is still readable on smaller screens. It may be a better strategy to replace the carousel on smaller screens with more concise buttons or other interactive elements without having to load in large photographs.
Image carousels can have a high impact on the homepage of a website and can often be a great way to showcase a lot of content in very little screen space, but they should be utilized with caution and intention – our team can help with that!
Great image carousels Sutherland Weston has implemented: