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that struck us most were the replies that said they would’ve expected sliders, or even worse, thought the themes were “outdated” because they didn’t have sliders.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

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185 Responses

  1. GayaBy Gaya on 14 February, 2014

    Important discussion. Don’t forget they’re completely illogical for people who use screen readers with items appearing and disappearing. It makes no sense semantically what so ever.
    Most of the time it’s just excuse for designers to put some graphics on a page.

    • Thijs de ValkBy Thijs de Valk on 14 February, 2014

      Good addition mate! You’re absolutely right of course!

  2. Jill CarenBy Jill Caren on 14 February, 2014

    OMG I am SOOOO glad you wrote this! This is a never ending battle with some clients – that I always lose since most clients seem to think sliders are the bees knees. I do not like them, never really have and recommend clients not use them for every reason mentioned above. I personally, do not even see sliders on websites – I get right to the content. This is a definite share everywhere my clients can see it! Thank you!

    • Thijs de ValkBy Thijs de Valk on 14 February, 2014

      Glad I can be of service. Hope this helps convince some of your clients from making the biggest mistake in their lives ;)

      • kamalBy kamal on 20 February, 2014

        One my known friend was asking why you are not using sliders so that it will look just awesome. I told him one thing, sliders just sucks and will not lead you anywhere. Now if anyone asks me the same question again I am going to ask them to read this article.

  3. Krish Murali EswarBy Krish Murali Eswar on 14 February, 2014

    Very insightful. I must really think about it. Never looked at it the way you are looking at it. I ran some crazyegg tests on three of my websites that use Genesis theme/child. More than 25% of people were clicking on one of the slider images. In fact, on one of the real estate websites that I run, the slider gets the maximum clicks. What have you got to say about it?

    • Thijs de ValkBy Thijs de Valk on 14 February, 2014

      My reaction would be that you’re a very unique exception and I would love to see the actual data for that ;)

    • Conrad O'ConnellBy Conrad O'Connell on 14 February, 2014

      I have to say for real estate and hotels, I have had similar experiences of people often clicking through. Perhaps these particular industries are more suited to people who want to poke around a homepage before digging into searching for a home or hotel room?

    • Imperative IdeasBy Imperative Ideas on 17 February, 2014

      In some cases, sliders make sense. A slider can be used effectively if it [a] tells a story and [b] doesn’t auto-forward. In your case, we could probably assume that people visited the page with a slider with the express goal of viewing real estate in a specific area. Thus, your click rate would have been higher since you were effectively telling a story about the available houses.

      This is not the case for most websites.

      In your case, what might happen if you take the time to optimize that experience? If you put control of the slider back in the hands of the end user and allow them to filter what slides appear by postal code?

      If you properly set expectations and really stress the slider as a story mechanism, you’ll probably see a major uptick in interest. Try it out using Google Content Experiments.

      TL;DR :: You probably got lucky. Figure out why and you can do even better.

  4. Alex IvanovsBy Alex Ivanovs on 14 February, 2014

    Hey Thijs,

    great write-up and information. I was actually thinking about enabling my slider again, but this got me thinking :)

    • Thijs de ValkBy Thijs de Valk on 14 February, 2014

      It shouldn’t have got you thinking, it should’ve stopped you dead in your tracks ;)

  5. OzhBy Ozh on 14 February, 2014

    Opinionated + facts to back opinions = the win. Nice read :)

    • Thijs de ValkBy Thijs de Valk on 14 February, 2014

      Thanks! Glad you liked it!

  6. Lahaul SethBy Lahaul Seth on 14 February, 2014

    Agreed. I don’t use sliders on any of my sites that I create unless a client specifically asks for one. Since you mentioned photography, what I do is create a slideshow of my static images and upload it to youtube and embed that on my site. It completely eliminates the need for a slider. So if a photographer is looking for an alternative this can be a viable approach.

    • Thijs de ValkBy Thijs de Valk on 14 February, 2014

      Yup, that’s one way to go. But still, I’m always more impressed by photographers that can make it look good statically to be honest. Because your actual pictures will always be static as well…

      • PorterBy Porter on 1 March, 2014

        Not if Harry Potter has anything to say about it ;)

  7. Claire LloydBy Claire Lloyd on 14 February, 2014

    Hi Thijs
    Thank you so much for the slider advice in your post. You’ve highlighted that there’s more thought required than just advertising cramming. I was going to look at sliders for our new website next but I think I’ll move on to something else.

    When I’m ready to revisit sliders your post will be my first port of call. I’ll keep you informed of progress.

    Bye for now, Claire

  8. ClintonBy Clinton on 14 February, 2014

    I’ve been telling clients this for years. Sliders do suck.

    Use them if you want to:
    – Kill your conversions
    – Destroy your SEO
    – Irritate Users
    – Confuse your message

    Use them that your own risk!

    • Thijs de ValkBy Thijs de Valk on 14 February, 2014

      Exactly. Nice summary ;)

  9. Rich PageBy Rich Page on 14 February, 2014

    Ah, this debate again ;) Great article.. here are my conversion two-cents:

    – Most of them suck, but occasionally sliders can work well depending on what is used in them, but if used, the first slide should always contain value proposition benefits.
    – A compelling static image combined with bullet point reasons to use the site is often much more powerful.
    – If in doubt, TEST IT! No one should make universal assumptions of what will work better on one site versus another. There is still really not really enough solid quantifiable testing that backs this up (apart from a few test results from experts).
    – Using behavioral targeting to show highly relevant, yet static slides can work very well to engage (saw this many times when working with Adobe clients). For example showing an image relating to most commonly seen content by the visitor, or a first time visitor guide or coupon (if they are new).

    Thanks for roundup though!

    Let the debate continue :)

    Rich Page
    http://rich-page.com

    • Thijs de ValkBy Thijs de Valk on 14 February, 2014

      Thank you for the reply! You’re somewhat more moderate in your opinion than I am, I see ;)

      See you April 10th! ;)

      • Rich PageBy Rich Page on 14 February, 2014

        Ah yes, we are speaking at the same conference :) Will be great to meet you!

    • GeoBy Geo on 14 February, 2014

      if used, the first slide should always contain value proposition benefits.

      And, you take that away from your potential reader immediately, before they even get a chance to read it? Really BAD design!

  10. Syed BalkhiBy Syed Balkhi on 14 February, 2014

    I agree that sliders are not for everyone. I also agree that in most cases nowadays, people are just abusing sliders (by putting in full-width huge images – waste of space).

    However to say in general that sliders suck is a bit far fetch. Sliders when used properly do serve its purpose. As justified by your own use of the “carousel/slide” script.

    Last I checked slider is a slider whether it automatically slides or manually.

    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.

    • ClintonBy Clinton on 14 February, 2014

      You’re right, sliders are useful for a very specific purpose but they have been completely and utterly abused.

      Many clients just want a slider because the other guy has one without thinking about the implications!

      This is going to be amazing article to share to get the point across.

      I hope they read it.

  11. Jerry StevensBy Jerry Stevens on 14 February, 2014

    Interesting. I don’t like sliders either but no one listens to me. I’ll link to this. :-)

    Seems like people are still expecting websites to be entertaining. It’s as if we’re stuck in the 90’s when, yes, it was cool to see slick moving thingies. I can’t help but notice that some of the best websites are what some people call “boring”. You know, a lot of white space everthing static.

    No one reads a book and says: “It’s boring. All the pages are white, the letters are black and too small, and there are no pictures.”

    But yeah, if you have no unique content and want to distract people from that fact, by all means, put a lot of pizzazz into the website site and hope no one notices.

    • Ian ArmstrongBy Ian Armstrong on 17 February, 2014

      By your post, I am inescapably reminded of this piece of satire:
      http://bit.ly/188kJZA
      Warning: contains strong language

      • al morrisBy al morris on 20 February, 2014

        Pure classic. And now I’m being told by this comment feed to add more words. To say something useful! Send this link to them.

      • Ewan KennedyBy Ewan Kennedy on 25 February, 2014

        LMAO (or LMFAO)!

    • Tony PageBy Tony Page on 21 February, 2014

      Unfortunately, fewer and fewer people read books these days. Ashamedly, I include myself amongst them.
      And did I actually hear Joost say he never understood people having moving pictures on their websites? Oh yes, here it is: “Seriously, whatever makes people think that having stuff move on your website is ever a good idea is still beyond me.”
      Come on, Joost, this may be about very basic sliders, but if you seriously believe the net is not heading inevitably towards a more video, visually orientated experience you cannot be serious!
      Note, I make no comment as to the desirability of this trend, but I think the opinion of that Cisco guy is probably near the mark.

  12. Felix ArntzBy Felix Arntz on 14 February, 2014

    Thank you for this very interesting post. I never saw sliders that way, however I get your points, especially the SEO related stuff. However, what I’m not sure about is the Argument about putting down the actual content. Many sites which don’t use sliders present a huge full-screen Cover on top of their content – so does it mean that this sucks exactly like sliders?

    Oh and by the way, the themes look great! :)

    • Thijs de ValkBy Thijs de Valk on 15 February, 2014

      Thanks! We also think the themes look awesome ;-)
      Huge pictures above the fold aren’t ideal either, but it’s a lot better than moving content :-)

  13. WikitBy Wikit on 14 February, 2014

    I’ve never actually thought of a slider, move content down. many thanks for the tip

  14. LiberationBy Liberation on 14 February, 2014

    I guess I am in the minority that uses them to navigate through featured content. I like them, especially for art related blogs.

    • Thijs de ValkBy Thijs de Valk on 15 February, 2014

      Well there’s no accounting for tastes, obviously!

      Would like to know why you prefer sliders over normal navigation though!

  15. John RomaineBy John Romaine on 14 February, 2014

    I’ve been saying sliders suck for years and nobody has listened. They’re nothing more than wank factor. Thanks for posting this. Agree 100%.

    • Thijs de ValkBy Thijs de Valk on 15 February, 2014

      Glad you liked it!
      Thanks for reading!

  16. Rafael MarquezBy Rafael Marquez on 14 February, 2014

    I hate sliders. I used to love them but then I realized how much they slowed down my site and took them off all my sites. I think that everything you can do with a slider, you can do with an image carousel or with just making an image collage, but that’s a story for another day.

  17. Darren ThompsonBy Darren Thompson on 14 February, 2014

    Actuslly I think this conversation could be extended to many modern theme designs and not just sliders. I develop niche sites for clients and creating unique sites on a large scale is a challenge – Presenting the content becomes difficult with too many page blocks. Most themes have far too much fluff on them and are extremely poor for proper SE optimization. The only place I see sliders and complex theme layouts having merit is on brand focused sites where SEO is not a primary consideration.

    • Thijs de ValkBy Thijs de Valk on 15 February, 2014

      You have a point, but it was a bit too much for this post ;-)

  18. DunaBy Duna on 14 February, 2014

    I think it’s a very fine line to make your site aesthetically pleasing or practical. My customers want all the bells and whistles to make it shine. You should hear the bells and whistles chime when they dont convert the hits into sales. I think i am going to shove this article under my customers’ noses. It’s not that I don’t appreciate their money……..

    Thanks for the proof all @Yoast

    • Thijs de ValkBy Thijs de Valk on 15 February, 2014

      No problem at all!

      I hope it helps!

  19. ThomasBy Thomas on 14 February, 2014

    What about sliders like the one used on the Apple Mac App Store ?

  20. Takeshi YoungBy Takeshi Young on 14 February, 2014

    Seems like a lot of people have poor experience with sliders. On our site, the slider is one of the most clicked items on our homepage. It’s not overly large so it doesn’t take up too much screen real estate, and users can jump to the element that they want via arrows. It’s a good way to showcase all the things that our website offers.

    • Thijs de ValkBy Thijs de Valk on 15 February, 2014

      I would love to see the numbers on that if you have those!

      In any case, that they work well doesn’t mean something else couldn’t work better ;-)

  21. Spencer PadwayBy Spencer Padway on 14 February, 2014

    Even without all of the facts you provided, I most often see people with a slider just filling it with random images and lines because they don’t take the time to develop it.
    Sliders may be bad, but sliders with no specific purpose and design are even worse!
    They also put a huge burden on responsive designs, because those tiny little phones still have to load an image that can be used in a widescreen desktop monitor.
    Great article!

    Spencer Padway

    • Thijs de ValkBy Thijs de Valk on 15 February, 2014

      Thanks a lot!

  22. Wilton CalderonBy Wilton Calderon on 14 February, 2014

    Well i have to say that i agree with yoast,,slider negatively impacting your SEO 99 % of the time,,also that is old school no to good anymore..

  23. WarrenBy Warren on 15 February, 2014

    You know what else sucks? Those popups at the bottom when you scroll to the bottom. They are just as gimmicky as sliders and I refuse to use them.

    Anyway, I’d agree that sliders suck about 90% of the time (as an end user) My wish is that they would be smart enough to STOP sliding when your mouse is hovering over them. I’ve seen a few that do that but not many.

    • Andy BakerBy Andy Baker on 15 February, 2014

      Yeah – they’re annoying.

      But you know why? It’s because I almost never want to sub to an “update/newsletter” list. If they slid/popped-up in an annoying way, but they actually gave me something I wanted – I’d sign up.

      It’s more about relevance then the display method.

    • Thijs de ValkBy Thijs de Valk on 15 February, 2014

      The difference there being that they are completely user controlled. You can simply click them away and you won’t see them again.

      And if you do sign up, they don’t show up either.

      Also: they actually work conversion wise ;-)

  24. Krishna_Everson (@KrishnaEverson)By Krishna_Everson (@KrishnaEverson) on 15 February, 2014

    Thank goodness someone finally wrote this! I have always had this opinion, but now I have something to back it up. 3 CHEERS!

  25. CraigBy Craig on 15 February, 2014

    I would be interested in this same sort of topic, but based on sidebars. I am torn between having a sidebar and not having a sidebar.

    Would love to know what the experts think….

  26. MuttMouthBy MuttMouth on 15 February, 2014

    Wow, I had no idea. I installed tailor made on my site, and was gonna add a slider into it. But on my other websites I noticed my conversions going down when I added my new theme. Thinking nothing of the slider. I removed it, and site loads faster, and more clicks. No idea, and THANK YOU for this article Thijs!

    • Thijs de ValkBy Thijs de Valk on 15 February, 2014

      Always glad to help ;-)

  27. Conciertos en Costa RicaBy Conciertos en Costa Rica on 15 February, 2014

    LOL. I feel this as a personal post… Last week I mentioned my site uses a slider, and mentioned if this was an option for your themes.

    I use the slider in the home page for upcoming concerts and events: http://adondeirhoy.com. Do you recommend to eliminate it? Would love to have an option to display them, without having the people having to scroll down the whole page looking for the concert/event of their interest. Any ideas?

  28. MattBy Matt on 15 February, 2014

    Thanks for writing this! I’ve always hated sliders, but have never said anything since it seemed like it was just my opinion. The fact that you point to other experts who share your opinion is even better. Now when a client or my employer suggests a slider on a site, I show them that it might not be a good idea.

  29. Sharon Beck EdelmanBy Sharon Beck Edelman on 15 February, 2014

    I could not agree with you more about sliders. I particularly dislike the way they push the content down. Still, plenty of clients want them. When they insist on a slider, I tell them that a fader is much less jarring to the views. Still not crazy about them, but they are less disturbing than having pictures whizzing by.

  30. AngelBy Angel on 15 February, 2014

    Is this also applicable for the clothing industries? Site like Modcloth has a slider and they are one of the biggest online clothing store! So are you saying that they should use the slider as well?

    • Thijs de ValkBy Thijs de Valk on 15 February, 2014

      Obviously you should test everything you change, but yes, I’d always advise against a slider.

  31. FaustoBy Fausto on 15 February, 2014

    Good ideas to do in the company where I work.
    Thanks!

  32. Travis BallBy Travis Ball on 15 February, 2014

    I’ve read this article a couple times now and the argument is very strong to remove the slider from my blog. However, I’m not sure how to replace it’s role.

    I am currently using it to display 5 images from a category that contains a “Photo of the Day” where the idea is to provide a new image every day, with the newest image being the first and then showing the most recent 4 after that.

    For something like this, what are some good suggestions for replacing that element? A single static image in the same spot seems like it would have many of the same issues (pushing content down, etc). If any readers have links to alternate strategies, I’d really appreciate some direction.

    Thanks!

    • Thijs de ValkBy Thijs de Valk on 17 February, 2014

      So let me ask you this:
      Why does the slider or static picture have to be above the content?
      Also, does it have to be that big? Why can’t the picture be a bit smaller, maybe even a few pictures next to each other?

  33. JanBy Jan on 15 February, 2014

    What about tabs and accordions or pricing tables ?

    • Thijs de ValkBy Thijs de Valk on 15 February, 2014

      Tabs can work, if you implement them well.
      Accordions are usually just as bad as sliders.
      Pricing tables can look a thousand ways, so no way for me to answer that :-)

  34. Jordan McClementsBy Jordan McClements on 15 February, 2014

    I agree 99%.

    When I updated my WP site recently I did of course buy a theme with a slider, and then ended up filling it with irrelevant images. Which in retrospect was pretty damned stupid, but you live and learn, and it’s too much effort to change it now! :-)

    • Thijs de ValkBy Thijs de Valk on 15 February, 2014

      Too much effort?
      I hope you’re not selling anything on there, because it could very well be costing you money. And that’s always worth the effort ;-)

  35. RichardBy Richard on 15 February, 2014

    An interesting insight and twist on the fact that numerous talented and popular theme designers/theme design companies/developers build/sell themes & plugins with and for sliders!
    What blows my mind the most is the SEO argument: aren’t slides simply a number of static images, each with tags, alt tags, titles, descriptions, and even post content, that is all crawl-able? Do the spiders need more than 10 seconds per image? This post puzzles me!

    • Thijs de ValkBy Thijs de Valk on 17 February, 2014

      Read the link in the 5th point, at the beginning. They push down your content, and Google is getting more and more tired of that :)

      And yes, sliders are several (usually big) pictures that do slow down your website, and thus affect your SEO and conversion rate.

      • RichardBy Richard on 17 February, 2014

        If Google is getting so tired of it, why do they use it so often on their own product sites? :)

        – Google Drive

        – Google Nexus

        – Google Motorola (before they sold it)

        • Thijs de ValkBy Thijs de Valk on 17 February, 2014

          Once again: read the article in which Google clearly states they’ll be more sharp against websites which push their content down.

          You’re making a very classic mistake in thinking that what Google does must be applicable to you as well. It’s just not that easy. As said, Google can do whatever they want, because they basically have no competition. And apart from that, their rankings aren’t about to drop, are they? ;)

          • RichardBy Richard on 17 February, 2014

            Which in fact is saying, if you make something that looks beautiful, we might ignore your site, because we want OUR site to look beautiful!

          • Thijs de ValkBy Thijs de Valk on 17 February, 2014

            No, it doesn’t. Because sliders suck and are far from beautiful ;)

  36. Meredith Gould (@meredithgould)By Meredith Gould (@meredithgould) on 16 February, 2014

    Leapt to my feet and pumped the air with my fist when I read this. Sliders are totally inane and I’ve been saying this for nearly two years. “But they’re interactive,” clients say. “No, they are not,”I respond and then explain how, those who bother to look at the slider, are then stuck in a continuous loop of either crappy pictures provided by the client or stock ones that bear little resemblance to reality. Hate sliders. Refuse to design websites with them and have gone so far as to resign clients who insist on having them.

    • Thijs de ValkBy Thijs de Valk on 17 February, 2014

      Way to go Meredith! Glad you liked it and very nice to see you sticking to your beliefs, which in this case coincide with science! ;)

  37. NicolaBy Nicola on 16 February, 2014

    Totally agree, that’s why i find the moving “subscribe” thing bottom right here quite annoying, as in every other site

  38. NatalieBy Natalie on 16 February, 2014

    :), you should print this out as a PDF that we can use to send to our clients to persuade them. I have always hated designing them, and now I have an excuse to stop. Cheers!

    • Thijs de ValkBy Thijs de Valk on 17 February, 2014

      Just click the ‘Print’ button at the bottom of the post ;)

  39. AndreaBy Andrea on 16 February, 2014

    I am a photographer and I use sliders on my website. I did wonder on the implications especially when I noticed that images on a slider do not seem to be regarded as ‘pictures’. The page therefore appeared not have any pictures. I had to compensate by also adding static photos.
    But after reading this article I am going to revise my strategy. Sliders if used properly can be visually appealing but they do slow down page loading times. They also engulf images which are not accounted as such. There has to be a better way.

    • Thijs de ValkBy Thijs de Valk on 17 February, 2014

      So glad to read this! Glad you liked, and so fully understood the post! :)

  40. ChrissyBy Chrissy on 16 February, 2014

    Very interesting.. ALL of my clients want the pretty sliders but I’ve seen how the large images use up all of their “above the fold” space….. but haven’t known how to test… I’ll of course take your word for it! How do you feel about the “tabs” that many of the studio press themes use like the NEW “News Pro” ?

    • Thijs de ValkBy Thijs de Valk on 17 February, 2014

      Tabs usually seem to work, which seems to be because they have real world examples that are so much alike (in the old-fashioned ‘organizers’, for example ;)).
      Amazon has used tabs for a long time as well and we’re actually using tabs as well ;)

      But as always: if you’re in doubt, test it!

  41. EkendraBy Ekendra on 16 February, 2014

    Very productive discussion. I have never used sliders on my website/blog for last 10 years simply because I never liked them (but not knowing the points you figured out here.)

    However, for the clients its is a different thing as some commentators above agree. What many want is fancy, and at the same time it is very difficult to make them agree on opinions on sliders.

    • Thijs de ValkBy Thijs de Valk on 17 February, 2014

      So designers should just collectively refuse to offer sliders, don’t you think? ;)

  42. JamesBy James on 16 February, 2014

    We all know that SEO is important but so are aesthetics. When someone arrives at a site you have one shot at making a great impression. If you can make an great visual impact that is relevant to the subject using a slider I think it can be a powerful tool. Just because a user doesn’t click on the slider doesn’t mean that it hasn’t impacted the visitor in a positive way.
    When I take over or rebuild an existing site for a new client the number one complaint I hear is that the old site looks crappy. I think some web designers forget about the design side and how impactful it can be.

    • Thijs de ValkBy Thijs de Valk on 17 February, 2014

      Well, we weren’t actually just talking about the clicks. As the quotes from the experts show, and the articles we linked to in this post, it actually negatively affects your conversion rate as well most of the time.

      So please don’t be too quick in disregarding this advice!

      • JamesBy James on 17 February, 2014

        I understand it wasn’t all about clicks and I’m not disregarding the advice. I simply saying that sliders can be powerful visual tool if used properly. I just think that there needs to be a balance between aesthetics and function.
        I do value the advice and information that is provided here. I have used the seo plugin for years and consider it to be one of my most valuable tools. I have also purchased some of the premium plugins and have been happy with the results.
        I was excited when I got the email about the new themes but was disappointed by the bland design. I have no doubt that the themes are great from a seo perspective but I wish the aesthetics had played a bigger role in the development of the themes.

  43. LeaBy Lea on 16 February, 2014

    I’m uncertain what you are referring to in regard to “sliders.” Do you mean a slideshow that plays automatically which the user has no control over or perhaps an image gallery where the user clicks through each photo at their own speed? As a photographer, I do have sliders (the latter mentioned kind) on my website (though not on the home page, which has static images) but I am of course very interested in ensuring that I’m optimizing my usability.

    • Thijs de ValkBy Thijs de Valk on 17 February, 2014

      The most important thing is that the users can keep control, which in your case, they can! So that’s good.
      Obviously, for SEO reasons, be sure they’re not overly large and push down any valuable content.

  44. JeremyBy Jeremy on 17 February, 2014

    Great article.
    However I agree with other comments in that aesthetics must be taken into consideration. Especially if you are selling your design services..
    Even Google after all uses the occasional carousel to add visual impact to their messages.
    http://www.google.com.au/business/placesforbusiness/

    • Thijs de ValkBy Thijs de Valk on 17 February, 2014

      So you’re saying sliders are prettier? Because I seriously disagree. Sure, Google uses it, but for Google it doesn’t really matter what they use, does it? They already rule the world…

      Of course aesthetics must be taken intro consideration, but in the end anyone with a professional website will want to make as much money as possible.

      Also, taking aesthetics into consideration doesn’t mean an automatic approval of sliders. They need serious thought and hard work for them to work. And even then, they hardly ever do. So the best way to go is simply to not use them.

  45. Travis Vander LindenBy Travis Vander Linden on 17 February, 2014

    I agree that this was a productive conversation as well as informative and I appreciate the details that you bring to your case against sliders. Other than the SEO factors and site loading, it seems that a slider as long as it is not automatically playing is more a form of navigation much like a page button except the content is revealed in a different manor. Same for accordions and tabs?
    In addition I agree with comments about factoring in aesthetics to the equation.

    • Thijs de ValkBy Thijs de Valk on 17 February, 2014

      Whatever happened to simple, usable menus? Why would you want a slider as a form of navigation?

      That just means you have a huge ass menu on your website, and the pictures don’t actually add anything, doesn’t it? Why add them in the first place, I wonder then…

  46. Joyce GraceBy Joyce Grace on 17 February, 2014

    Hello Thijs!

    Goede morgen!

    This is Joyce from the ManageWP.com blog. I was working on an article on this subject recently and couldn’t agree more! I wrote about alternative solutions to the ‘slider’ issue and included this post in it after I saw it. It’s so awesome! I plan to share with all my clients!

    Hopefully this might help those seeking a better choice than the slider, which is full of examples of great sites that do this:
    https://managewp.com/slider-alternatives

    • AaronBy Aaron on 21 February, 2014

      Yes, there may be alternative solutions to the slider, but none of those supposedly alternative solutions would take away from the benefit of having a slider that is properly used.

  47. habannahBy habannah on 18 February, 2014

    Interesting article. I see the points but am not fully convinced due to my own experience as a user. I’m new to building websites, so how I use websites is a huge influence on how I build them. And while I’ve often thought sliders were annoying, the reasons were about readability. Mostly, they just move too fast. When sliders have navigation buttons, including backward and forward arrows, numbers or dots to show how many slides there are, and a pause button to stop on a particular slide, I actually use them. I can even think of a few particular examples of times when I went back to particular pages to look at the slider to help me find what I was looking for, when it wasn’t easy to find using the navigation menu. So for me as a website user, sliders can be useful at times. When sliders don’t give me any control, I get frustrated and move on, though. Thanks for this article because it made me analyse my own web usage habits, and now I know that at the very least, if I do use sliders, then end-user control is imperative.

    • Thijs de ValkBy Thijs de Valk on 18 February, 2014

      Glad you liked the article!
      Granted, in some cases, the slider offers a better navigation. But that doesn’t mean you should use a slider, it means you should improve your navigation ;)

      • habannahBy habannah on 25 February, 2014

        Agreed! Actually, I am using a slider on one of my sites, though now I’m seriously reconsidering it. However, the reason I used a slider was to save space — I dislike *longish* lists of featured posts and thought the slider was a good compact way to feature posts. Any thoughts on this type of use of the slider? I haven’t seen that mentioned anywhere in the comments (though there are so many I might have missed it!). Thanks!

  48. RaviBy Ravi on 18 February, 2014

    Nice article Thijs. I’ve been thinking about better options about sliders myself but it seems hard to back down on them now. I just took a look in our analytics and it seems quite some revenue come from these vile things. That being said… I’m still going to check out other options and see what works best. In the end I just want whats best for the specific site.

    • Thijs de ValkBy Thijs de Valk on 19 February, 2014

      Exactly, that’s what everyone wants, really :)

  49. ZimbrulBy Zimbrul on 18 February, 2014

    What about Genesis Responsive Slider? If you look to the code generated by the slider it actually improve the keywords density.

    • Thijs de ValkBy Thijs de Valk on 19 February, 2014

      Right, and there are no other ways to improve keyword density? ;)

      • ZimbrulBy Zimbrul on 19 February, 2014

        They are but depends how much do you want to show on the homepage; for the corporate like templates you cannot actually put much info on the homepage so 4 GRS slides improve the keywords density, they are quite convenient to use.

  50. Raleigh LeslieBy Raleigh Leslie on 19 February, 2014

    Totally agree with this post. In the process of killing the slider on many homepages right now including my own company! Great scientific evidence and backup.

    • Thijs de ValkBy Thijs de Valk on 19 February, 2014

      Glad you liked it! Thanks for the compliments!

  51. SteveBy Steve on 19 February, 2014

    Interesting post. I have always used sliders to enhance the looks of my websites. In Fact whilst reading this I realised I have reached a stage where I have not even considered not adding a slider to a project for a few years now :-|

    I do completely see the logic in the points you have made and I am actually going to remove the slider from one of my websites and keep my eye on analytics to see what happens.

    Thanks for the info.

    • Thijs de ValkBy Thijs de Valk on 19 February, 2014

      Awesome! Let us know how that pans out!

  52. PauloBy Paulo on 19 February, 2014

    Great post and I totally agree. I’ve just gone through weeks of hell with a client due to their insistence on using a slider. I wish i’d had this post to point her to!

    I do like the slider your using on the themes showcase pages though, it’s totally non invasive and actually serves a purpose. Is it a plugin or one you designed yourselves?

    • PauloBy Paulo on 25 February, 2014

      Are you not telling then? :)

  53. Tom DurkinBy Tom Durkin on 19 February, 2014

    I’ve used sliders in the past and they can be useful for adding a bit more of a dynamic feel to a website, however stats and studies don’t lie…

    Fortunately I have been drawn more to having a static image in the masthead/hero area in recent months to slim down code and improve website UX

  54. chrisBy chris on 19 February, 2014

    I completely agree with you on so many points that sliders take away from the (intended) message conveyed and show a panicky “I can’t decide what I want to show you so I’ll show everything” kind of non-professional approach. It becomes very difficult to sway clients away from something big-and-shiny like sliders. Thanks for gathering some proof they don’t (and won’t) work!

  55. FilipposBy Filippos on 19 February, 2014

    Maybe you are right! Sliders make websites to load slower and that’s bad for the google rankings. Maybe, we should reconsider about the sliders and find a better way for a more stylish theme.

  56. Nathan K SmithBy Nathan K Smith on 19 February, 2014

    When are you guys rolling out some additional wordpress themes? Do you offer a service to help users migrate from the old wordpress theme to the new one?

    I currently use a studiopress genesis theme however not completely satisfied with it.

    • Thijs de ValkBy Thijs de Valk on 20 February, 2014

      If all goes well, we’ll release another 3 themes before the summer (in Europe ;)).
      And no, we don’t offer such a service, sorry!

  57. Robin JenningsBy Robin Jennings on 20 February, 2014

    If 40% of users view websites on a mobile, there’s at least 40% of people that don’t want your website to have a slider.

    If i see another WordPress theme with the Revolution plugin used as the default I am going to scream!

  58. Shazzad HossainBy Shazzad Hossain on 20 February, 2014

    Now that comes to a standard that without slider as site would be good enough. I couldn’t understand why shouldiuseacarousel themselves using a slider to tell those 10 sentences, could be a criticism ?

    Is this really a SEO Disadvantage when the slider is completely render from a well structured code block, and the slideshow rendering is ignored when it’s a mobile device who won’t support this ?

    Tickers are one kind of slider i guess, and i feel (for a news site) it has very good accessibility impact for visitor. What could be a good alternative to this ?

    I do avoid sliders when i can use an alternative method to visualize, and your information really give me some good point to stick on it :)

  59. Peter CoughlinBy Peter Coughlin on 20 February, 2014

    Gotta agree with you Thijs.. but I find this is usually a tough discussion with the client.. they do like their websites to look pretty, even at the expense of visitor conversion ;-)

  60. GrahamBy Graham on 20 February, 2014

    Well, I suppose I better get rid of ours then!

    I did think it wasn’t too much of issue only because:
    1) the content of the 1st slide would be on the page as a static entry anyway..
    2) It as call to action built into it.

    I just assumed this wouldn’t be a problem but it clearly may be causing us problems that we are not aware of!

    Hmm.. Thanks for the post.. You have given me more work.

  61. AaronBy Aaron on 20 February, 2014

    Thijs, I can understand the beef you have against sliders and it is mainly because people abuse sliders in a way that undermines the user experience. Too often people use sliders for the reason to expose as much content as possible on the page.

    As a Web Developer, I don’t use sliders to expose as much as content as possible on the page. The purpose of the slider is to add visual interest and eye-catching phrases. If the reader is visually stimulated by the slider, he/she can just scroll down to read the actual content. In most cases, the slider doesn’t need to take up half of the page on the homepage, let alone the entire page!

    Also, many people put too many slides in a slider and this most certainly will slow down the website, especially if they are not using a CDN. If there are too many elements (i.e. pictures, captions) on a slide, it can also slow down the website. It is also bad for SEO if people use pictures to display text on a slide when text can be simply manipulated with CSS.

    So basically, I have nothing against sliders as I love sliders, but they must be used with extreme caution.

  62. Ted HoganBy Ted Hogan on 20 February, 2014

    I have to commend you on a well-thought out, well-written argument against using sliders.

    From a design perspective I really wanted to use sliders, and in fact, I did use a slider on my homepage but killed it for 2 compelling reasons:

    1. While measuring and optimizing to improve my site speed, and performance, I’ll realized that the script for the slider and loading the additional slider images added a significant delay to the time required to download and display the homepage. That’s not good for a desktop user, but that’s a deal-breaker for most mobile visitors.

    2. And on that point, and at about the same time I was struggling to improve page speed, GoogleAnalytics was telling me that we had reached a tipping point where slightly over 50% of all visitors were accessing the site with mobile devices.

    My theme’s slider did work well on mobile phone I suppose, but what is the point if it also hurts SERP rankings and conversions. I dropped the slider and never looked back.

    Excellent and timely post! Thx!

    • Thijs de ValkBy Thijs de Valk on 21 February, 2014

      Glad you liked it! Thanks for the comment! :)

  63. JaniceBy Janice on 20 February, 2014

    Great post! (And great timing too!). I just recently re-designed my own site to get rid of my slider as it just seemed outdated, apparently I’m not the only one who feels the same way.

  64. ElijahBy Elijah on 20 February, 2014

    There are valid points on both side of the barricades, so I wouldn’t be as categorical as you are. But I see your point as well.
    The beef that I have with your themes is not he absence of slider but rather the outdated and mediocre design. They look like a blast from the past and would be a hard sell for clients.
    I’m not trying to bash it. I was very excited when I saw your link that says that Yoast have new themes now, but pretty disappointed when I saw them.

    • Thijs de ValkBy Thijs de Valk on 21 February, 2014

      Well Elijah, you’re entitled to your opinion of course :)
      I thoroughly disagree though, but that might be my age, and ‘a blast from the past’ is actually what the younger generation would call ‘modern’ ;)

  65. Art WebbBy Art Webb on 20 February, 2014

    To hear a web specialist say that a slider tool “sucks” is like hearing a professional painter say that certain types of paint brushes “suck”. It’s simply a tool, and if you aren’t using it right doesn’t necessarily mean the tool “sucks”, it means it might not be the right tool for the job, or you’re just using it wrong. I personally wouldn’t refer to a tool to “suck” though. It serves a purpose, and when something better comes along (divs > tables) then you take advantage of the new features available. I’m an audio engineer and recall asking someone if they liked analog or digital recording better. They turned to me and said, “one isn’t better or worse, it’s how you use it.” That stuck with me ever since.

    I love all the current tools available to us as web designers right now. Sliders, widgets, SEO tools, responsive themes, mobile-friendly HTML5 audio/video players, AJAX, databases, A/B testing tools, I use them all wisely and always want to learn more about how to properly operate them.

    Ps: your comments form isn’t optimized when typing in an iPhone 5s in Safari / Chrome and the browser cuts off the text area

    • Thijs de ValkBy Thijs de Valk on 21 February, 2014

      Thanks for your comment!
      As the opinions and experiences of all the experts should’ve told you: sliders have been tested extensively and been found plain lacking basically every time. Of course there are rare exceptions to this rule, but the general rule is just that sliders suck :)

      Maybe you’re right and sliders suck because people suck, but I didn’t want to go that far ;)

  66. BillBy Bill on 20 February, 2014

    Thanks. I had a slider on a craft-related site I’m developing, but decided to pick the best photo for the home page and use it as a click-through to a gallery+pitch page. I guess an alternative for someone who loves sliders is to have a click-to-start/stop button for the homepage slider, wtih the default setting to ‘off.’

  67. D Alan ReddBy D Alan Redd on 20 February, 2014

    This isn’t something that I haven’t ever heard before – Remove the word sliders and replace it with JAVA or Flash and you’ve got the exact same thing all over again. As an internet web developer, I’ve heard all of the arguments for and against various elements .. Sliders have their place in the web development world just like many of these other heavy and intrusive elements that came before .. Knowing and understanding that in the world of the internet, there are hundreds of different settings and configurations spanning multiple devices and processor speeds.
    Every application and element has it’s place – these are written for a reason, and under some certain circumstances, sliders could be a boon for those who choose to use them. From the standpoint of SEO? .. A well written web element instance can be an asset, regardless of whether or not it’s flash, sliders, or whatever else … The nature of these elements is to WOW and with that WOW, one should write well enough to draw the visitor in. The trouble here is that everybody knows the WOW aspect, but most don’t know what to do after. (you’ve caught you quarry, now what do you do with it?) Experienced web developers and marketers already know what to do next, but most everyone else doesn’t .. On the internet, things like sliders, flash and javascript are not too unlike cars .. everyone has one, but not everyone can drive.
    Deployment and configuration is key to the successful use of any web element .. People hate sliders because they are not only over-used, but most are deployed improperly under conditions that may not call for or require their use in the first place.
    Instead of complaining about the over all technology associated with various web elements, we should be complaining about the wanna-be web developer that misuses that technology due to the lack of experience.

    I’ve heard all of this before, and it’s quite interesting to note that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Proper and thoughtful deployment of any web element should be the order of the day here .. don’t advise to eliminate something just because there are those out there that can’t write or deploy web element instances properly.

    • Art WebbBy Art Webb on 20 February, 2014

      “Proper and thoughtful deployment of any web element should be the order of the day here .. don’t advise to eliminate something just because there are those out there that can’t write or deploy web element instances properly.”

      Amen

    • Thijs de ValkBy Thijs de Valk on 21 February, 2014

      If it were just a case of ‘those out there’ you might be right. However, sliders have been massively abused to the point that made me make this statement.
      And yes, I do truly believe having sliders (no matter how optimized you have them) will lose to having no sliders on both SEO and CRO every time. But that is, as said, my personal belief :)

    • John NaismithBy John Naismith on 25 February, 2014

      Thanks Alan. An informative response.

  68. TOmBy TOm on 20 February, 2014

    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.

    I disagree that you’re using ‘sliders’ on your theme feature pages: these are really only simple thumbnail galleries. They don’t do anything by themselves and they aren’t distracting. They provide relevant information and It’s only after you notice the left and right chevrons that you realize you can interact with the page and learn more about colour options. And the click-through takes the user to something useful: a full theme demo in the option colour (most demo scenarios only offer a single page in the optional colour.)

    In this case, metrics on the use of the ‘gallery’ would show prospects drawing closer to the bottom of the funnel on their own accord. Good job Team Yoast!

  69. Jean-Francois MonfetteBy Jean-Francois Monfette on 20 February, 2014

    Very interesting article Thijs, with many good comments.
    I have some data for you and your readers.
    Our home page has a very big slider, that covers more than 50% of the space above the fold .
    I just looked at our data and 3% of the visitors who saw that page clicked on it.
    There’s always 3 slides on it. The share of clicks is split this way:
    – Slide 1: 41%
    – Slide 2: 39%
    – Slide 3: 20%
    This is based on many hundreds of thousands of visitors to that page since April 2013, when that design went in effect.

    The big first image is never about our services, but always feature a real entrepreneur since we’re trying to put forward the fact that BDC is the only Canadian bank dedicated exclusively to entrepreneurs. It’s a branding decision.

    We also have a persistent menu on the right of the slider image which shows our top 4 services and receives about 15% of the clicks (which I didn’t count as “sliders clicks in the data above).

    I hope that sharing this data might help in the debate.

    Regards,
    Jean-François Monfette

    • Thijs de ValkBy Thijs de Valk on 21 February, 2014

      Well, I think the data says it all here :)
      I’m hoping you’re at least thinking about removing the slider?

  70. Bill FrankellBy Bill Frankell on 20 February, 2014

    Very good info, and it will come in handy in the near future.

    However, at the moment I run a Clan website for a bunch of guys who play World Of Tanks/World Of Warplanes so traffic is low. Granted, initial loading is a bit slow, but when we didn’t have it the Clan Commanders all asked for it. They are happy, I am happy. And I am now a Commander too.

    When I do the next site it will be a “real” one, and that will be different. Thanks for the article.

  71. John NaismithBy John Naismith on 21 February, 2014

    I have had an inkling for some time that sliders are not a good choice. Except maybe for those that the viewer makes the decision to slide to something relevant to their needs.
    Thanks for providing the data to back up my inkling. A video is probably a better choice if you want movement.

    • John NaismithBy John Naismith on 21 February, 2014

      My photo doesn’t appear next to my comment. It does on other sites. Any ideas?

      • Bill FrankellBy Bill Frankell on 21 February, 2014

        Check your Google+ profile. I think that is where it comes from.

        • Thijs de ValkBy Thijs de Valk on 21 February, 2014

          Nope, comes from Gravatar actually :)

          • John NaismithBy John Naismith on 25 February, 2014

            Thanks. Just updated my Gravatars and a new photo. I used an email address for this reply that I hadn’t set up a gravatar. All my email addresses are now set-up.

  72. KM LeeBy KM Lee on 21 February, 2014

    I’ve built quite a number of slider websites for clients, but personally I never use slider in all my sites.

    I’m glad you shared about this. Next time I’ll just refer people to this article rather than trying to explain to them. :)

  73. Nick CovanesBy Nick Covanes on 21 February, 2014

    I respectfully disagree that sliders are ineffective. Perhaps it is because I serve primarily service oriented businesses. What I have found is that an effective slider such as “Revolution” when used to display the clients CTA is powerful. My experience with sliders is that they can be effective in directing the client to the purpose of the site and what is expected of them (kind of like an up-front contract, if you will).

    If used sparingly 2-3 sliders on your home page each slide pointing to a specific Call To Action, sliders have actually improved call volume for my clients. I can only speak from my experiences as I am positive that the comments against sliders are equally valid for those users.

    But to sum up my opinion succinctly, I feel that sliders, with vivid imagery and strong CTA’s can improve the overall effectiveness of your website marketing. I will agree that having a slider just to have a slider is poor use of your website real-estate; however, a focused slider can be a compelling, eye-catching, use for client conversion.

    Cheers!

    -Nick

    • D Alan ReddBy D Alan Redd on 21 February, 2014

      I agree Nick — A slider can and often times does, improve the overall effectiveness of website marketing.
      The problem, as I mentioned above, is that there are far too many who would put a slider on, and not know what comes next .. Sure, it’s all flashy and WOW, but that’s it.
      (you can’t convert with just flashy and WOW alone)
      In the past 9 months, I’ve put sliders on 3 of my managed client sites, and CTR went up roughly 23% on average for each in a relatively short period of time (on topic clicks from the slider directly at 18% alone).
      I suggest no more than 3 slides as a rule, and I don’t try to sell them to everyone who comes down the pike because most I run into don’t need them.

  74. DaveBy Dave on 21 February, 2014

    Great article!
    I use some myself, so like most people, I suck now and then! :) There’s one other important reason for suckiness that I didn’t see here (unless it’s buried in the comments)…

    Site owners often want their terrible amateurish photos in them. And to make that worse, none of them are at the same aspect ratio. Yay?

  75. Stan de WijsBy Stan de Wijs on 21 February, 2014

    Great post and I agree with most of what you wrote. Basically what the problem is with sliders in my opinion is that it is overdone. Too much information, too many navigation options, too many graphical confusion, etc. I believe the correct use of a (home page) slider but also a (fairly big) static image is to focus on communicating what your site is about, make a visitor feel comfortable and anser the question whether they are going to find what they are looking for to solve their problem or not. And all this within those few seconds where a visitor decides to stay or leave. Take a big image with a mamut skeleton, there might be some text overlay, but just by that image I already know that the site is probably about either a museum, an archeological dig or Jurassic Park VI: “The Final Day” which would let me know the probability to find what I’m looking for (which might have been “creatures from the ice age”). It can decrease your bounce rate big time (or increase, if your SEO is misleading), but it also depends on your market. Take for example real estate websites with a featured listing slider (image slider with or without captions). It gives an immediate impression of what type of properties you have listed. I don’t believe that one can simply say that sliders suck, it has to be managed well. I know that this is a discussion which has been going on forever: content impact vs graphic impact. My conclusion over the past 13 years is that they should not be seen separated, but managed according your market and balanced. (Sorry for the long post :) )

  76. MichaeBy Michae on 21 February, 2014

    I would have to agree with you on this one, sliders slow down the page loading times and do not work well with mobile devices. If you are going to have a responsive theme sliders should be scraped out of them.

  77. Dave greavesBy Dave greaves on 22 February, 2014

    Interesting article, as a photographer I feel that having a small set of my best work rotating is not pushing down the content as is mentioned a lot, as for a photographer the photos are the content.
    Having to scrol through loads of large images can be tiresome.
    The slide show I use can be stopped and interacted with at any time giving the viewer the control, if they don’t watch it all and go straight for information then that’s fine.
    This particular slide show is seo friendly as the images are seen individually by search engines and can each be alt tagged etc.

  78. ChellieBy Chellie on 22 February, 2014

    I completely agree about not using slider and immediately remove from my theme. If I can not easily remove it, them I will not use the theme.

  79. JoeBy Joe on 23 February, 2014

    For displaying images/photos, would it still be wrong to have a manual slide show that the user scrolls through the images by clicking ‘back’ and ‘forward’ button?

    Thanks.

    • Thijs de ValkBy Thijs de Valk on 26 February, 2014

      If you *have* to have sliders, manually controllable ones, with decently visible navigation, are the best to have.

  80. BrandonBy Brandon on 23 February, 2014

    I 100% agree. I’m involved with a website with an internal culture that loves sliders (or interactive banners). I’ve shown them analytics on how any more than 3 is worthless, but my experience is pretty close to only 1% of visitors even clicks. Good article.

  81. StefanBy Stefan on 23 February, 2014

    You say the business is more important (making $$$) than aesthetics but kinda ignoring your own advice by not providing the “option” that most customers require :)

    All top selling themes are having at least one slider included even if the designers does not have one on their homepage. Yet, they are literally making millions with those themes. Best selling theme on ThemeForest cashed over $ 3 millions by showcasing it’s main feature, “premium sliders”.

    With the “sliders suck” approach and focus on business, you guys should easily beat that, especially considering your reputation in the WP industry. Now this makes me really curious… I wish you the best in sales and definitely check back 12 months later to see what will be the outcome.

    You are actually saying “we know what’s best for you and you don’t” and this is a very bold statement. Time will tell if designers dictate the trends or just following them even if they like it or not ;)

    • JamesBy James on 25 February, 2014

      Stefan, I agree with you. I purchas themes from theme forest because the themes have options like sliders and they pay attention to the aesthetics. I also buy them because it saves me time and money.

      • Ewan KennedyBy Ewan Kennedy on 25 February, 2014

        Where there are willing buyers there will always be willing sellers but popularity is not always a good indicator of quality.

        MacDonald’s worldwide revenues are more than $20 billion but that doesn’t mean the food doesn’t suck. It satisfies a need for instant gratification which is fine so long as your objective is not a healthy diet.

        The message I’m getting from this article is that sliders are often about gratification but not so effective when it comes to conversions.

        • JamesBy James on 26 February, 2014

          Totally disagree. It’s not about gratification it’s about making a positive impact on the viewer. If it’s done correctly you can make a big impact. If it’s done incorrectly, it can have a negative effect. You can have the most optimised site in the world but if it looks crappy people will move on. Just like anything in life there has to be a balance.

          • Ewan KennedyBy Ewan Kennedy on 26 February, 2014

            Hi James,

            I take your point about the difference between impact and gratification but I don’t think it makes any difference to the main argument. It is still a trade-off between CRO v Impact or CRO v something else.

            I should add that I’m taking it as read that the opinions of the author and the authorities he quotes are not subjective opinions but based on data extensive enough to draw statistical conclusions with extremely high levels of confidence.

    • Thijs de ValkBy Thijs de Valk on 26 February, 2014

      We value the quality of our themes way too much to put sliders in them and contaminate the SEO, CRO and speed optimization that went into them.

  82. Brandon WIlcoxBy Brandon WIlcox on 25 February, 2014

    A brilliantly provocative article. Boy, you really stuck it to those photographers! But with logic that is unassailable.

    I used to love sliders but now I think the suck in most cases. The problem is that clients invariably love them, which leads to some robust discussions.

    Keep fighting the good fight Thijs ;-)

  83. Donna Marie JohnsonBy Donna Marie Johnson on 25 February, 2014

    I feel so validated. I am so happy to see this post and discussion. Thanks, Yoast!
    ~Donna Marie Johnson, The Love Infused Marketing and Graphics Strategist

  84. Ewan KennedyBy Ewan Kennedy on 25 February, 2014

    I usually like to see hard stats before being convinced in arguments like this one but the names of the people you have quoted in your article are the only ‘convincers’ I need.

    My first step when reading about anything CRO is to head over to conversion-rate-experts.com to see what they’re doing but I see Karl Blanks is in your list above! And guess what? No sliders!

    In the light of such comprehensive, authoritative opinion, I initially found it difficult to rationalise why anybody has disagreed with the thrust of this article.

    However, I think a lot of it is explainable by people taking their eye off the conversion rate as an objective. When web designers talk about the importance of aesthetics that’s fine so long as they can follow that argument through by establishing and proving a link between their superior aesthetics and actual conversions.

    It is perfectly plausible that the most visually pleasing design is the least effective.

    Also, when web designers consider what they like in other websites, they may be falling into the trap of viewing those sites with a web designer’s hat on and not a prospective customer’s hat.

    There may be other cases where the introduction of sliders improved conversions but maybe it was a case of replacing really bad design with not quite such bad design i.e. still leaving plenty room for further improvement?

    What people think they want to see and what will actually lead them to put their hand in their pockets are two entirely different things!

    An example of that is annoying email subscription pop-ups. Most people say they hate them. Most people say they work for CRO.

    What we ‘like’ (in the commercial world) isn’t as important as that it works.

    My sliders are coming off as soon as I get time which will probably be 2015!

    • Thijs de ValkBy Thijs de Valk on 26 February, 2014

      Woohoo! Another win for the good cause! ;)

  85. FransBy Frans on 25 February, 2014

    Great read Thijs.

    It’s always on ongoing discussions but it shouldn’t be! If anyone ever again asks or demands a slider, i will gladly refer them to this article. Brilliant!

  86. Joshua JacobyBy Joshua Jacoby on 25 February, 2014

    OK, no one is going to play devil’s advocate, I guess I have too… Full disclosure, I am likely guilty of way overusing sliders, so perhaps some of my justification is couched in that guilt? Perhaps.

    I believe beautiful sliders keep people on page longer. I agree hiding content in slider is dumb, but enhancing the content with an animated element can make things more engaging, especially when the animation is all about ambience and not about content or written words.

    Lastly, I do agree you gotta lazyload your sliders if at all possible, and don’t have too many images unless it is loading asynchronously, and even then limit it.

    So my take home here is keep sliders simple, lazyload, and have navigation on them. So basically no sliders just image slideshows, and don’t squeeze out your content to place them (no huge front page sliders).

    • Thijs de ValkBy Thijs de Valk on 26 February, 2014

      So you’re saying the pictures *need* to move, otherwise they won’t be attractive? I’m sorry, but that just sounds silly to me…

  87. Jereme ThomasBy Jereme Thomas on 26 February, 2014

    Very interesting post. Do you think e commerce sites are any different? I see sliders on them all of the time. Even some of the big players like wayfair.com and zappos.com.

    • Thijs de ValkBy Thijs de Valk on 26 February, 2014

      No. Sliders always suck ;)

  88. C HamiltonBy C Hamilton on 26 February, 2014

    The comment that said sliders are overused, but are appropriate in certain contexts reflects my opinion. I would like to tell you about two websites.

    The first is a church, which has a short, wide slideshow near the top of the page. The slides were carefully selected to display the diversity of activities available at the church. As was pointed out in another post, they tell a story.

    The main purpose of the site is to keep parishioners connected to the activities at the church. The most important piece of the home page for parishioners is the weekly bulletin, which they will see if they scroll down slightly, and the navigation bar, which is above the images. The slide show is a comforting reminder for parishioners of all the good they do, and has a visceral impact on the casual visitor. In this case, SEO is only relevant to the extent that it helps the public find information about how they can rent the church for weddings and funerals. The church already has more bookings than it can handle.

    The second site does not yet have a slider, but likely will in the near future. It showcases the work of a single artist. Again, SEO is not all that important for the website, as the intended audience (art dealers) finds out about it through targeted emails. As the artist told me, he has 15-20 seconds in which to capture the interest of the dealer. The painting is the content, not the text. The image first displayed should be the one that is most appealing, is representative of the overall content, and makes the dealer want to investigate more. Yes, initial load time is important, but so is the ability to browse images quickly. Interestingly, he was adamant that the viewer must have control over which image is displayed – no automated movement between images – just as you choose to do on your website.

  89. DepritoBy Deprito on 27 February, 2014

    that why i’m falling in love with genesis framework!
    Awesome load, and have a integrated SEO on their framework.

  90. VikasBy Vikas on 28 February, 2014

    The timing of this post couldn’t have been any better. I was just trying to explain this to one of my client who was adamant on having a flashy slider on his website.

    Cheers mate.

  91. UnNamedBy UnNamed on 28 February, 2014

    TBH, I use sliders on the designs I sell because my customers who buy themes generally want to see blingy-sliders. To tell them otherwise would not net a sale, and sorry, I thoroughly enjoy eating and living indoors. I would be hard pressed to sell a theme if it didn’t have scrolling images on it. Hopefully the people buying my themes are turning that junk off…
    Humans like shiny things, plain and simple.

  92. Iain CameronBy Iain Cameron on 1 March, 2014

    A very interesting article Thijs, and something that I hadn’t considered. But after a lot of thought I have to disagree.

    I see the slider on my clients’ sites as being a mini version of the entire site. Viewers have too many distractions, they need to be enticed to stay on the site. It is the equivalent of a TV programme showing what’s coming up to keep people watching. Here’s the over-view! Scroll down, or use the navigation, or click the slider’s CTA. But the slider kept them in. No statistical evidence, but as I’m Scottish, I’m correct. ;)

  93. TerryBy Terry on 3 March, 2014

    As someone who designs mainly for mobile, I am always fighting the “slider battle” with clients who think sliders look great – Now I have an article from a expert that I can send them to!

    With a static image header and a video (unlimited images AND Google love!) above the fold, why on earth would I slow my site down, especially on a mobile, with sliders?

    Great article, thank you.

  94. Rick SmitzBy Rick Smitz on 3 March, 2014

    I tend to agree. But then I could show you at least three ecommerce sites, using sliders, that had over $2b each in ecommerce sales last year.

    But they are not using WP themes. :)

  95. Jarrett HolmesBy Jarrett Holmes on 4 March, 2014

    I have had a strong suspicion about this for some time and this post just confirms it. I knew they weren’t mobile friendly and slowed down sites. The lower conversions data is a super important point to pay attention to. It’s COSTING you money to have a slider and not helping you at all, with anything. If you want pics, make a portfolio or put them in posts and pages. Faster load time, better conversions, more optimized content = better SEO.

  96. Leho Kraav @lkraavBy Leho Kraav @lkraav on 5 March, 2014

    How fitting for this to pop in the inbox today

    Static Images vs Sliders Homepage Test – Which Sold 75% More Children’s Furniture?

    http://whichtestwon.com/archives/24211

    Oh yeah that guy Peep you’re quoting.. happy to call him my teammate.

    • Jean-Francois MonfetteBy Jean-Francois Monfette on 6 March, 2014

      Great example ! I was going to share the same link.
      By the way, Peep’s blog is awesome and his book is worth a lot more than the price he sells it for.

  97. Corey SheppardBy Corey Sheppard on 6 March, 2014

    Thank God! Finally someone proved it scientifically.
    I believe in sliders, but only if it is really-really necessary – for showing pictures of a room in a hotel, for example, or pictures of a restaurant.
    But sliders to make your website beautiful is a serious no-no for me.

  98. JanBy Jan on 11 March, 2014

    Cool! For a few months I was not sure how to feel about the slider in my genesis child theme. I’ve added it in through a plugin to let lazy visitors see the latest posts.

    The latest posts where also underneath it so when you scrolled down you would also see them.

    But lately I’ve been feeling it was a bit much. Visitors would see the images and the titles, twice. Double content…

    So this article pushed me over the edge and I’ll remove the slider and at least go back to a static image from the latest post. I might even throw that out the window and just start with the latest posts in a small format.

  99. Wesley van der HoopBy Wesley van der Hoop on 13 March, 2014

    Helemaal mee eens! Ik heb mijn homepage slider inmiddels vervangen door tegels.

    Nu nog afwachten wat de resultaten zijn!

    Funkie Collective homepage zonder slider

  100. TonyBy Tony on 14 March, 2014

    I completely agree that sliders do suck.

  101. Meg CookBy Meg Cook on 15 March, 2014

    The point I found really interesting here was that sliders are a sign that one cannot pick one thing to focus on, so the result is a bunch of stuff, hoping something sticks. I must admit, that I do not have content “above the fold” with my theme, and I know it hurts things.

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