Our Themes Don’t Have Sliders… Because Sliders Suck
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Our Themes Don’t Have Sliders, Because Sliders Suck

Last Tuesday we released our first three themes, and this will be the first post in a series that will explain what themes should and should not have. These posts will also explain why we made certain choices regarding our themes.

With the release came a storm of reactions, some downright negative, but most of them (luckily) very positive! Some of the negative replies that struck us most were the replies that said they would’ve expected sliders, or even worse, thought the themes were “outdated” because they didn’t have sliders.

Let me make one thing very clear: sliders suck. Of course, I entitle myself to my own opinion, and you’re entitled to yours. But let me explain why they suck.

Science

It’s not often that science is conclusive in their findings. However, sliders (sometimes named carrousels) seem to be one topic on which it is. There’s literally not one study that I’ve found that says sliders are a good idea. I often point people to http://shouldiuseacarousel.com/ when wanting to explain why not to use a slider. This simple website does an awesome job at showing the statistics as well as trigger the annoyance sliders usually evoke.

Lets look at some of the statistics:

But… I’m a Photographer!

Ok, so you’re a photographer. You should be allowed to use a slider, right? Wrong. People tend to act as if there’s no other way to show their images anymore but by sliders. This just isn’t true. If you couldn’t have a slider and you’re a photographer, would you just give up having a website altogether? Of course not, you would look for other options, such as the revolutionary idea of showing static pictures. If you want moving pictures, you should change careers and become a filmmaker.

Seriously, whatever makes people think that having stuff move on your website is ever a good idea is still beyond me. You can create awesome collages through which people can browse at will. The pictures won’t be forced onto them (if they even notice them in the first place), they’ll just notice the ones they like. And trust me, that will sell better.

If you’re really a photographer, you’re probably a creative person. You probably make photograph albums for people from time to time, which probably don’t have sliding images. So how about you showcase that skill and creativity by designing these pages with static images?

Focus

And, once again, it all comes down to focus. Basically, what you’re saying with a slider is: “I really don’t know which product or picture I should put on display on my homepage, so I’ll just grab 10 of them!”

If you don’t know what to choose, how should your visitors or clients? You should know what your own business is about and what product or picture deserves that front page “shine”. By showing that, you will give people a far better feel of your business, and you as a person, than a slider ever could. Not in the least because sliders, as I’ve said twice now, are simply ignored. And a message that’s ignored hardly ever comes across (hint the sarcasm).

SEO and Conversion Rate Optimization

Sliders push down your content, plain and simple. In fact, most sliders I come across these days in our SEO Website Reviews are big enough to fill out any screen. This means the content won’t even be visible above the fold. And this plain sucks SEO wise, which I’ve already shown through the article linked above.

There’s not a CRO expert that will disagree with me on this: sliders kill your conversions. So simply having a slider on your website, will get you less sales! If that’s not a dealbreaker, I seriously don’t know what is.

Just combine the two and find out what a monstrosity the slider actually is. It kills your rankings and your conversions!

But You’re Using Sliders Yourself!

For the attentive readers, you’ll have seen that we have a “slider” on our own themes pages. Let me explain the very important difference from these, and the “regular” slider you find on any site nowadays.

The user completely controls our sliders, plain and simple. Nothing moves on its own accord; they really just showcase the different options we have for one product. So in fact, they don’t slide at all. And all they show is different color schemes. It’s simple. Not overwhelming.

Also, our “sliders” are actually normally sized. They don’t dominate the page and actually just act as an addition to make our themes ‘come to life’ more.

Lastly, our “sliders” don’t push down the content. They’re below the most important content, such as the most important features of our themes, and the larger images of the theme you’re viewing.

Why Should You Believe Us?

If you don’t believe us, believe these people who we’ve asked for their opinion and experience with sliders:

“It’s extremely rare to see sliders work. You’re better off using static images and copy.”

Peep Laja, Owner of ConversionXL.com and Markitekt

“I think sliders are interesting but somewhat problematic. The biggest problem I see is that if visitors are bouncing from the page in a second or two, they will never see the other options on the slider. If you use a slider for navigation, be sure the same choices are visible in static form, too. I think sliders work best for portfolio displays where several large, strong images can be displayed in the same space without impeding the visitor’s ability to navigate or determine what other content is on the site.”

Roger Dooley, Author of Brainfluence (also available on Kindle) and owner of Neurosciencemarketing.com

“I think sliders are distracting. It’s a way to put extra crap on a page that’s typically not best for visitors. If it’s important in most cases you should just put it on the page without sliders or extra clicks.”

Hiten Shah, Co-Founder of Crazyegg and KISSMetrics

“Sliders suck 99.8% of the time! We once did a test with a client where we changed their slider to a static image with 3 core benefits and lifted conversions by a nice amount.”

Bryan Eisenberg, Author of Waiting For Your Cat to Bark (also available on Kindle)

“This popular design element is – for many – the go-to solution when there are more messages to put on the home page than there is room to put them. Rather than make the tough decisions that require prioritizing conversion goals, web teams turn to the rotating banner as an offer of compromise.

“Sliders are absolutely evil and should be removed immediately.”

Tim Ash, CEO at SiteTuners, Author of Landing Page Optimization (also available on Kindle)

“We seldom use sliders. A slider is an ‘involuntary autoscroll’. It’s like the webpage grabs the user’s mouse and starts scrolling around the page without the user’s permission.

“And we, as designers, lose control of what the user sees. If the user scrolls down the page, they may completely miss some of the panels of the slider.”
Karl Blanks, Chairman and Co-Founder of Conversion Rate Experts

“Sliders please the owner of the site, but they deliver little to no value to the customers. The reason is that we are not going to sit there and wait for your ‘movie’ to play out. I’m also not a fan of sliders because for most businesses they provide an excuse not to think about personalization and being good at giving the customer the right answer, right away.”

Avinash Kaushik, Digital Marketing Evangelist for Google, Author of Web Analytics 2.0 (also available on Kindle)

Honestly, I could go on and on. So no matter how pretty you think sliders are, know this: they simply suck. Also note that the quote from Tim Ash is from an article that’s over 2 years old, which makes you wonder who’s out of date…

Over to you

Do you think we’re completely wrong? Or do you emphatically agree? Let us know!

 

This post originally appeared on Yoast, and is re-published with permission.
Featured Image: ronstik via Shutterstock

0702 ThijsdeValk Our Themes Don’t Have Sliders, Because Sliders Suck

Thijs de Valk

Thijs de Valk is a behavioural scientist, with a Master's degree in Pedagogical Sciences. He's turned geek to work at Yoast. He fills his days with customer support, website and conversion reviews.
0702 ThijsdeValk Our Themes Don’t Have Sliders, Because Sliders Suck

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17 thoughts on “Our Themes Don’t Have Sliders, Because Sliders Suck

  1. Hi Thijs de Valk, a very informative and a very interesting post. I agree with you that sliders suck! The only problem here is,how to prove moving sliders are just a fancy decoration that deliver little to no value to the customers without doing an AB testing. However it vary on a case by case basis. thanks!

  2. Hmm, I don’t think this is right concept, It’s all depend on your industry niche, offered product and services. So we just can’t stick on one theory. We have to use accordingly.

    1. Good Morning,

      I’m on the fence about the slider issue. Personally I do pay attention to sliders, but I’m sure its related to professional curiosity. That being said I find the best use of a slider is to imprint an idea.

      For example, I was studying websites that sell candy online. One site used the slider to show how their candy could be used for a specific holiday. Now I did not intend to buy candy but the slider showed me so ways to use candy that I had not thought of and made me consider getting some.

      Generally, sliders provide very little value. If you are going to use one you need to use it to highlight something specific, tell a story and provide exceptionally helpful or relevant content that is timely. Of all the criteria timely ranks highest for me because it connects your current offerings to a socially or culturally important event. This type of event is top of mind for you visitor (if you are doing it right) and will provide more attractive content.

      Michael O

  3. always knew and told my clients the basics about sliders being a real looser for the overall performance of a site and definitely not wanted by the end user … but they get all emotional about it because the slider is ALL ABOUT THEM and not their user. I had a local hotel chain go to a flash site slider site builder secretly and leave me … cause they wanted the site to “pop”, of course all their rankings dropped and the designer never even kept the page names or seo in tact. or submitted site maps, etc ( they are a design shop!) so the customer lost out on that too, after that I gave up and give them to the ones that want them. I have seen sites go down a few spots in rank after and seen them return after the slider was removed or tweaked out so content was above it ( after the client relented and let me when the site dropped ) my point … this crap is driven by the ego of the client not stats, data or any common sense of site design and usage. I agree on the clicks, I can prove it as I built html sliders where I could see the data directly and it was abysmal. Yet all the “cool” sites have sliders!

    1. You say the sliders just distract from the content. You state this as if it’s a hard rule. But the fact of the matter is, sometimes the slider IS the content of a page.

      You also say photographers should not use them and that we should let the client pick from thumbnails. Even one of your quoted experts disagrees with this. Plus, I want my visitors to look where and for how long I want them to look. I specifically don’t want them skipping around because then they won’t get a full picture of what I do.

      So while I agree that sliders generally offer no additional content and that static content I can skim is considerably easier to digest… to state they are always bad is a tenuous statement at best.

  4. Oh God I love this article!
    My Danish clients thinks sliders are amazing, and even though I try to explain otherwise I almost always end up creating those damn sliders!
    Will bookmark your article and send it to my future clients, haha ;)

  5. I also saw that sliders get a very low click rate and thus take up way too much space above the fold for relevant content that would help the user stay on your page and navigate his/her view on the site. But on the other hand in some very offline driven B2B industries some target groups are not slider-blind at all and find them very attractive. I would recommend testing a slider for a certain amount of time to make sure you make the right choice before banishing them from your site forever!

  6. I have been saying for year that sliders are boring and dont add anything to a website Especially on the home page. Oh look a scrolling slider with some images. Add rich media instead. A video or an image that delivers impact with a strong message attached that says this is our company and this is what we do.

  7. I don’t know where this idea came from that all sliders are bad and they ruin conversion. Not at all if my personal experience is anything to go by. Sliders make the web beautiful, you just need to make sure that they are relevant and deliver a message.

  8. I think, as a wedding photographer, I like having a slider.

    Although I’m often tempted to try make do without

  9. Sliders are a designer-client thing. Many designers, especially if they’ve been at this for awhile, learned to love sliders because it gave them the chance to finally use HUGE, pretty images. Clients like them because they get to see their “stuff” in a massive size. As an SEO, that’s often a difficult one-two punch to overcome! Personally, I like them for their visual punch, but totally agree about them forcing content down below the fold. Lots of good food for thought here…

    Ron
    OVER EASY SEO (slider free! :-)

  10. Personally, I believe that sometimes, like a Presidency, we can think ourselves better than the average person without even realizing it. We can fall into this we-know-it-all trap. Now that may not be the case here, they may care, but that does not mean they are not wrong and that that may actually be the case.

    Sometimes, just sometimes, we need to step away from the analytic’s for a while, step back from the geek and realize it true, some websites need a slider and, some do not.
    We are monkey’s here sometimes. We follow the so-called “sage advice” of those we trust, and sometimes we forget that they are human…and can be dead wrong.

    When it comes to a slider, EVEN ON A HOMEPAGE, think it through, does your message, presence and theme actually scream out for one? If it does, use it, if it does not, leave it alone. But please, do what you think is best not what Lead Pages and Mr. Valk think and feel….

    1. I’m sorry, but I obviously disagree ;) As I mentioned in the beginning of the article though: everyone’s entitled to their own opinion.

      But I do have a few questions: when does one’s presence, message and theme scream out for a slider? How can I know if it does? To my mind, this only happens if the person behind the website actually wants a slider. And I’m here to convince them they shouldn’t want it in the first place. So if I manage to convince them, is that so bad? It’s just another influence on their opinion, just like the influences that made them like sliders to begin with.

      And then you say “do what you think is best”. But what if the person has no idea? And what are we all basing this on? Does it come down to a gut feeling? Because that might certainly work well for some people, but for other people this might not work out well at all. There are actually quite a few commonalities to be found using science, so why not use them?

      Don’t get me wrong, obviously everyone should do with their website as they please, but that doesn’t mean they’re not allowed to take on other people’s recommendations.
      And yes, maybe my recommendations come on a bit strong, but that’s because I feel that strongly about them.

  11. In my initial years of blogging i thought sliders will make my blog attractive to visitors. But now from my experience i have the opinion that it could possibly increase loading time and simply annoys the visitors. But for people blogging on some specific niche like photography it may come useful. Nice analysis.

  12. Thank you for this post. You make a very good case for why not to have sliders on your site. However, having read some of the people disagree, they also make a good point. Maybe it works for certain niches where images are a big part of the site’s purpose.