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Why content carousels are not the optimal choice

The usability paradigm of a "carousel" or "slider" became popular when one-page websites started taking over. Most of those landing pages used carousels, because they were already long vertically. A horizontal slider allowed them to show more content, without making the landing page even longer. A carousel seems like a logical choice on landing pages, but the ergonomy of it is lacking.

Carousels are perceived as dynamic, modern and "trendy" so a lot of companies decide to use them on their site. It is however important to test it - does a carousel meet it's sales and/or marketing goals?

Carousels are good for amusement parks

In reality carousels have very low marketing efficiency. Lots of independent studies are confirming the same facts. The problems come from human nature, that in turn defines how they browse.

According to research, less than 20% of users ever get to the second slide, and it's CTA efficiency is around 10%.

That means that the users aren't that interested in what's the next slide. They don't interact with sliders as much, because they prefer to just scroll down. The content after the first slide is very rarely seen. Thus conversion of further slides is very low, so they shouldn't be used for important content. But if the content on them is not important, then why use a slider in the first place?

Human iconic memory is roughly 20 seconds.

The fact that carousels are dynamic (and sometimes switch on their own) makes the content in them much harder to remember. Majority of users can't even quickly recall what they've seen on the previous slide, especially with exposition lower than 10 seconds. The movement itself is irritating to some users and negatively impacts readability.

There are ways to improve sliders

In some cases (like fullscreen galeries) a slider is not a bad thing. But if your website needs to have a slider, there are a few things to consider to make it as user friendly as possible and improving conversion. Get in touch with us if you need help with that.

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Additional contact:

Michał Malewicz

[email protected]

Szymon Adamiak

[email protected]