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that struck us most were the replies that said they would’ve expected sliders, or even worse, thought the themes were “outdated” because they didn’t have sliders.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

Thijs de Valk

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... Read Full Bio
Thijs de Valk
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