The Pros & Cons Of A Big Homepage Slideshow/Carousel
While surfing the Internet, you have more than likely came across multiple websites that utilize a homepage slideshow. You may have even thought about implementing this design element on one of your own sites. If you are on the fence about this strategy, continue reading.
This blog post will uncover the pros and cons of this web design strategy, as well as alternatives you could consider.
What Is A Homepage Slideshow or Carousel?
A homepage slideshow often referred to as an Image Slider or Carousel, is a design method that utilizes a slideshow format with a series of pictures to display a lot of information in a small amount of space. Image Sliders can contain various types of media including images, text, buttons, and even video and audio. A homepage slideshow usually provides website visitors with the ability to move forward or backward to view individual slides.
Below is an example of a website that uses a homepage slideshow. Print Mor utilizes the homepage slideshow to promote their products and services. The company utilizes buttons to engage website viewers and allows viewers to advance through their slides via the orange arrow buttons.
Pros of Implementing A Homepage Slideshow/Carousel
Many web designers swear by the homepage slideshow and make it their go-to design method. Below are some of the many benefits of creating a homepage slideshow on one of your next big web design projects.
Lots of Information In a Small Space
As a web designer, you know the importance of conserving space. One of the more obvious reasons web designers choose to go with a homepage slideshow is because it allows them to display a lot of important company information in a small amount of space. This can be especially useful to help communicate important company messages, as well as display current promotions.
Psychology has proven that people are attracted to images. The popularity of social media has trained our brains to gravitate towards photos instead of large amounts of text. Website visitors love to see beautiful photos, and a homepage slideshow can help you achieve this goal without making them scroll the page or navigate to another page on the site.
We all know the importance of a strong call-to-action, (CTA). A homepage slideshow provides a website designer with an opportunity to create multiple CTAs in one place. Better yet, all of these CTAs are above the fold!
Holds Visitor Attention
A homepage slideshow has the potential to grab a visitor’s attention and keep it. When a visitor sees a slideshow, he or she may stick around to see all of the slides or be tempted to scroll through to view them all. This is especially true if the first slide they see has a beautiful picture, a great offer, and solid CTA.
Provides Fresh & New Content
Website visitors like to see new content. A homepage slideshow makes displaying fresh content to visitors very easy. The simple change of adding one new slide could create an entirely new experience for visitors.
Tells A Story
A homepage slideshow is a great design technique for a company that wishes to display a gallery of images or tell a story. A slideshow has the ability to display a linear process, thus it allows a visitor to follow a specific journey. People love stories, and the slideshow layout gives a company the chance to deliver on this.
Great At Selling Visually Based Products
A homepage slideshow is a great option for a company that sells visually based products and services. A slideshow provides a great opportunity to show off the aesthetics of a product of service. This is especially true for those in the real estate, photography, art, or restaurant business sectors.
Shows Visitors What’s Important
One of the main reasons web designers choose to implement a homepage slideshow on a website is to help their clients show visitors the most important aspects of their business. Many companies utilize a slideshow to highlight promotions and specials, which can lead to increased sales. Others choose to utilize a slideshow to advertise an event, publicize an achievement, or communicate must-know information.
Cons Of Using A Homepage Slideshow
This would not be a complete article if we did not also include the cons of using a homepage slideshow. Here are the top five drawbacks of using a homepage slideshow. Consider these potential drawbacks before you move forward with implementing it on your next project.
They Can Be Ineffective
According to Orbit Media Studios, some experts have concluded that homepage slideshows are ineffective, and have essentially no impact on the user. In our digital advertising world, many users are trained to skip over things that appear to look like ads. Many experts refer to this as banner blindness.
Banner blindness presents an issue when examining the effectiveness of a homepage slideshow. If users truly do skip over content that resembles advertisements, implementing a homepage slideshow could be wasting precious space.
They Can Lead To Frustration
If you decide to implement a homepage slideshow on your next design project, be mindful of the transition time between each slide. This is especially true if there is a lot of content on each slide. Nothing is more frustrating to a website visitor than trying to read a slide only to have it disappear in a few seconds.
They Can Slow Your Site Down
Many homepage slideshows rely on jQuery and slider script to load content. If the slideshow contains numerous links and images, it will have to load these before it can load the slideshow itself. This could result in slow page load times, which has the potential to frustrate a website visitor and negatively affect SEO efforts. This is especially true on mobile devices.
Low Click-Through Rates
A 2013 study found that only 1% of site visitors interact with a homepage slideshow. Of that 1%, 84% to 89% interact with just the first slide. This means that the majority of those who do decide to click may never see any slides past the first. Thus, it is important to make sure the most important slide is always first in line.
A Slideshow May Confuse A Company’s Identity
Each slide is essentially an independent banner advertisement that displays a different message. In most instances, these slides are not related to one another. The slides are important enough to warrant a place in the slideshow, but in most instances are not important enough to warrant their own section on a website.
This can confuse visitors, because a huge image on a website’s homepage signifies prominence, and provides a clue of company identity. This could result in a website visitor getting the wrong image of an organization. If you decide to implement a slideshow on your next web design project, make sure all slides align with the company’s overall mission, vision, and brand standards.
Alternatives To The Homepage Slideshow
We would be remised if we did not provide you with some alternatives to the homepage slideshow. Below are some suggestions if you are not yet sold on creating a slideshow on your next design project.
One Big Image
If you are not sold on the effectiveness of a homepage slideshow, a great option is to choose a single image that represents the company or brand. This single image can have a huge impact on website visitors, and will allow you to communicate a powerful message to visitors without the worry of slowing down page load time.
With the increased popularity of YouTube and video in social media, what better way to engage with website visitors than to include a video on the homepage of a website? There are instances where an image alone cannot communicate the entire message. A video can step in to help communicate the entire message to website visitors, not to mention increase engagement.
A hero image is similar to a single image layout; however, a hero image is a static, full-wide image that stretches the entire length of a home page. This hero image often contains important company-related information, as well as a strong call to action. Hero images are hard to ignore and have been shown to catch a visitor’s attention.
Lead Generation Form
If your client’s business model is dependent on getting quality leads, the lead generation form layout could be the perfect option.
Using a lead generation form as a homepage banner encourages visitors to provide their contact information, and is one of the first things website visitors see. A lead form banner could drastically increase conversion rates.
Another option in place of the homepage slideshow is a search form. A search form is especially helpful for a company that has many product and service pages. A search form will help website visitors find exactly what they are looking for right from the homepage. This will result in a simplified process, as well as increased customer satisfaction.
If you like the idea of including pictures on the homepage but are not sold on the slideshow format, the collage format is a great alternative. The collage will allow you to provide visitors with multiple visual offers to entice them to view multiples website pages. The collage is a great design layout if you feel like the single image, or hero layout is too limiting.
What’s The Verdict? Should I use a carousel?
The Carousel layout is still a very popular homepage layout that has many benefits such as allowing you to communicate a lot of information in a small amount of space, as well as helping to communicate what is important to website visitors. That being said, the layout also has its drawbacks including, carousel usability, potentially lower page load times and low engagement rates.
The bottom line, people like imagery. If you are not a fan of the homepage slideshow, highly consider an alternative such as the single image, video, hero image, lead generation form, search form, or collage layout.