The Death of the Homepage Image Slider

We have all seen or interacted with the dreaded home page image slider. If you have not seen one, I would have to seriously question your sanity, or what time period your living in. It seems like every web site in America has one of those cookie cutter image sliders on their homepage. In fact most of our client’s, first requests, is to make sure there is some sort of image rotator, on the home page of their website. My first question back is always “WHY?”

A website has between 5-15 seconds, to entice a new visitor, to make an action, and that’s being a bit generous. Some would say between 3-5 seconds. I typically stay on for about 10. Most homepage image sliders rotate at 5 seconds, and have between 4-6 slides. By doing the simple math, and looking at your experience in clicking sliders, you can pretty much bet slides 4-6 get zero exposure. So that leaves slides 1-3 to convey the message you want your visitors to see. The question is, do they really see that message?

These types of messages often get lost by using bad imagery, and over the top slide transitions. The messages often do not connect, and are run almost like string of horrible banner advertising. So why would you put one of these on your homepage? Maybe it’s because so many websites are using them, you feel you would be losing out. I mean if everyone is doing it, it must be right? Wrong. Here are some of my alternative recommendations to using an image slider:

Spend time creating a clear single message.

Instead of using an image slider, try having your creative team or graphics guy/gal, create a hard hitting full width, message on a single graphic. Keep the message clear and to the point, supporting your websites end goal / objective.

Keep it simple.

It’s easy for visitors to get overloaded with information. So keep your message to the point, and as simple as possible. If there are elements on your graphic that do not need to have purpose, remove them. If the copy is longer than 2 sentences, try re-writing the copy. Visitors appreciate a clear single, simple message.

Be witty.

I cannot stress this enough. When putting together your single message, find creative ways to be impactful. Be witty, have fun. It will make your message that much stronger, giving more of a reason for a visitor to make an action on your website. Plus who doesn’t appreciate witty, it shows you actually spent time crafting your message.

Tell a story.

If you’re set on an image slider for the web site, and there is no convincing you otherwise, do your best to be purposeful with your slides. Try telling a story. Use each slide as a lead to the next. By doing this you can tie 2-3 slides together, making the visitor actually want view your slideshow. Use all 3 slides to convey one simple message and you’ll have a really good chance at winning your visitor over.

My question to the reader is, do you know of a company or individual who is using an ineffective image slider? Or maybe you have had nothing but positive experiences with generating clicks through image sliders. Either the case be, post your feedback below. I would enjoy reading and commenting on your thoughts.

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