Have you noticed how many websites are now using slideshows (also known as slider galleries or carousels) on the home page to capture attention? Within the past year, the number has exploded.
Why the popularity? There are several compelling reasons.
— Visitors have a notoriously short attention span. A slider gallery captures their interest immediately.
— Slideshows are interactive. A viewer can click on a bullet, button, karot, etc., to focus on an image of interest.
— A slideshow is intuitive. Some have an interface similar to Powerpoint, so everybody understands how to use them.
— On larger websites, a slideshow eliminates the need to search. Did you know that slides can include links to relevant pages? This feature alone makes the experience worthwhile.
— A slideshow is a quick way to energize a tired website. Although it doesn’t eliminate the need to update, it can act as a transition to a better user experience.
The strategy for adding a slideshow requires careful planning. Think of a slideshow as a billboard for your business. What should you post on that billboard as a snapshot that shows your products / services? Once you determine a series of billboards, they can be included in a slideshow placed in a conspicuous location. In particular, many corporations and businesses put a slideshow on the Home page to attract maximum visibility.
[testimonial]A slideshow can be a compelling means of delivering the best content on your website—up front on the Home page where it’s most visible. [/testimonial]
Other slideshow uses
Portfolios. Many designers / photographers are using slideshows to showcase their project work. One popular approach is to create a gallery of before / after shots, along with more detailed descriptions of the project. One picture may be worth a thousand words, but two pictures showing how your services make a huge difference is worth dollars and cents.
Sliders of information. Sliders can be useful in backing up information. For example, a description of a company’s product / service is written, and appears as part of an individual slide. Graphics are used to provide visual backup for that information, which helps viewers absorb the idea more quickly.
Featured blog posts. Many bloggers use slider galleries to feature their top posts. That way, readers can find popular articles at a glance.
Features of a successful slideshow
Although many users already know how to navigate a slideshow, there are several useful principles to keep in mind when developing a slideshow.
Buttons, numbers, and thumbnails. These elements are important visual guides to assist navigation. Be sure to make clear to the user where they are as well as where the slideshow is going.
Auto and manual. Slideshows can either scroll automatically or allow the viewer control. It’s best to make both methods possible so the user can find the information (slide) they prefer quickly. However, the show should start to rotate slides automatically first, with the option to select specific slides set up as part of the navigation.
Keep it simple. Don’t try to present too much information or too many features. For the user, a slideshow can be a source for inspiration that leads to provocative questions. It can be the beginning of a partnership with the business authoring the slideshow.
Transitions and Styling. A slideshow should be an integral part of website design. The way a slideshow moves from slide to slide is important. The choice for transitions — fading, horizontal sliding, vertical sliding, the list goes on and on— should blend into the overall style of the website.
A slideshow is a compelling means of delivering the best content on your website — up front on the Home page where it’s most visible or as part of a project gallery. Either way, if it’s elegant and user friendly, your viewers will find their experience with your website memorable.