Slideshows won’t die, but they should. Here are 8 reasons why:

Slideshows won’t die, but they should. Here are 8 reasons why:

  1. They are simply not effective.
    In many studies, multiple banners with different slides and calls-to-action (CTA) have been proven to be pointless. Users rarely ever see past the first slide, especially when the first slide has a strong CTA itself. If you truly want the user to see more than the first slide, then the first slide needs to sell, or at least, guide the user into the subsequent slides.
  2. They often have poor / no accessibility.
    99% of the time slideshows are setup for the most ideal scenario: fast internet connection, and a great computer. So when these conditions are not met, then slideshows begin to fall apart. This is never more evident when users with accessibility issues are trying to use the slideshow. Lacking keyboard support and controls for screen-readers are the #1 issue slideshows often have.
  3. They create a blindspot.
    Just like users have become banner blind to online ads on a website, they are quickly becoming slideshow blind too. Eye tracking studies have found this to be the exact case. Most site users move past these right away because they assume the slideshow is pointless, or annoying, or both. So, the biggest, most valuable real-estate on your website has now just become irrelevant and detrimental to you.
  4. They can induce user apathy.
    If your slideshow is set to auto-scroll, or even if a user is clicking through the slides, chances are that they are getting distracted or apathetic. Once they get distracted, you’ve lost the battle for their business. Your site’s important content is now secondary, and probably will soon be forgotten.
  5. They can often reduce conversion rates.
    By attempting to add 2 or 3 different CTAs to your slideshow, you are effectively cutting the chances of any conversion in half or worse. Plus, you increase the chance of frustrating users by offering multiple options, and forcing them to pick and choose which might be right or wrong for them. Decision fatigue leads the user away from your business.
  6. They can detract from your SEO efforts.
    Poorly written, bloated code. Large images and video. Lack of accessibility-friendly markup. These are often-used words to describe most slideshows on the web. And they are also a recipe for search engines to drop your content, even if it’s good, in their search rankings. Any significant decrease in load time (think half a second or less!) is a negative signal to the search engines. 
  7. They often have bad UX.
    Auto-scrolling. Going backwards to read the whole slide. Skipping to the end. Which one is the end? How do I just get to the first one? So many unnecessary UX points of view need to be considered when designing and building a slideshow. Even when most are thought of, there are still others that were not. It is very rare to find a slideshow that is stellar from a UX standpoint.
  8. On mobile the UX can easily go from bad to horrible.
    As bad as they can be on desktop, on mobile devices it’s 10x worse. The content is even slower to load, and the interaction is so much more awkward, confusing, and frustrating.

At a high-level, slideshows make sense. They allow you to offer your customers many different avenues into your business, or to show many different types of content, or even offer many different CTAs. However, as we’ve seen above, what is intended and what is built are often two very different things. From a business standpoint, you are more often than not hurting yourself by using a slideshow. Don’t make your users decide what to prioritize themselves, that’s for you to do. Take back your biggest, most important real-estate and make it work for you again. Start by ripping that slideshow out and figuring out what it is you truly want your users to do on your website. Your business will thank you, and your users will too.

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