Avoid the Image Carousel

You’ve seen them many times.  The image carousels.  Those big images at the top of the homepage, that change every few seconds, or when you click on the little arrows to advance to the next image.  These were a cool thing years ago, when a homepage consisted of only this carousel and a footer.  But times have changed my friends along with our viewing habits.

Research shows that users are not waiting anymore to see what happens next in the image carousel.  We have now been conditioned, mostly by social media platforms, to begin scrolling immediately.  We will scroll down a homepage until our finger falls asleep, but don’t ask us to wait for an image to change, or worse, ask us to click on something. Especially when using a phone.

Clients continue to request that I build these images carousels, but I try and gently advise them against it for a few reasons.  One, because of the research on viewing habits mentioned above.  Two, each of these images slows down the load time of the page, and typically carousels can consist of 3-5 images.  The most current website designs use full-width images for that main top image, so having 5 of these can add about 500k to the size of the homepage, for something that no one will even see.  And three, this load time is greatly increased when viewing on a smartphone, which has become the most popular viewing device, especially if the user is on a cellular network rather than WiFi.

You’re much better off moving the info or messages that would have been contained in the carousel, to various areas on the homepage as you scroll down.  Break it up into smaller sections.  Enforce these areas with smaller images that load quickly.  This will increase confidence that the user has actually seen and read your information, as opposed to scrolling past it before the 2nd carousel image even loaded.

Hope that saves you a lot of time, money and frustration:)

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