Making Carousels Work Harder

Screen Shot 2014-01-27 at 14.45.25

Almost everyone who has access to the internet has come across a carousel. They are also called sliders, rotators, mostly used for images with CTAs (buttons). They recently came under fire in the design and UX community.

Carousels are condemned here, herehere and tracked here

Personally, I like them and I think they are a good design pattern when used correctly. Many, in their web design trend speech for 2014 want to see the carousel dumped and replaced by a huge picture banner, which might be worse. A user recently said that for an ecommerce site having just one image banner feels like there’s not a lot of options in the store.

“If people cannot see it, they cannot buy it”

I acknowledge that carousels can be very tricky to work with and many have a high bounce rate. This is tied to content that does not appeal or just isn’t useful to people.

IMG_2616

But since, people are going to look at the carousel anyway, why not make good use of it.

Making The Carousel work Harder

Basics

> First off, make sure the carousel is appropriate for your content.

> Don’t use flash. It is bad for SEO as search crawlers cannot find it. There are many other options available to implement, HMTL5, Javascript.

> It should not be automatic. Keep the user in control, let them know the number of slides available and and an idea of what’s in it.

> Four slides max.

> Update Content regularly, daily. For ecommerce sites, you have ALOT of things on your site to sell, make use of it.

New Direction

> Don’t make Carousels dead-ends or a call to action to a dead end. If you are advertising a product, insert the options if any, and a ‘Add to Cart’ button, instead of making them click the banner and dumping them on a page where they still have to look for that item.

> Experiment with different content and sizes. Can you make your carousels responsive, so that they are useful to your different pages and manageable by your CMS team.

> Consider making them interactive enough, so your users can favorite, bookmark content.

> Some sites that work it!

- Airbnb

Screen Shot 2014-01-27 at 14.41.57The images have a profile and price, which makes me think, oh wow, this beautiful place is actually affordable! or maybe not and It’s a real picture. My only gripe is, the carousel is automatic

- Protest.eu

Screen Shot 2014-01-27 at 14.42.33

The images are massive, and the navigation of the site might be a bit confusing but The image has a drawer which gives you the option to buy the actual products being advertised in the image.

As always, test, test, find out what works and what you can discard but please don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Best xx

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2 thoughts on “Making Carousels Work Harder

  1. Great post, am in the league of people who believe the carousel should be retired, but then again, the large single photos aren’t any better. Users should always be in control, the idea of allowing users favorite or bookmark carousel content is brilliant.

  2. That’s cool. One should always find out what works better for their business. Where I currently work, the stats do not show that carousels are pure evil therefore…we try to make them even better! Thanks.

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