For the Love of Pete... Please Stop Using Sliders!
I cringe (literally) every time I see a slider on a website. In fact, I am quite convinced that sliders are the worst thing ever invented for web design. There is no doubt in my mind that they are the brain child of a web designer with ADHD who forgot to take their Adderall one morning while trying to choose between several options of what to place in a single row on a web page.
But I assure you it's not just me. People hate sliders. They provide a horrible user experience (especially on mobile devices) and are terrible for search engine optimization (SEO). In this article, I'm going to state my case for why you should NEVER use a slider on a website EVER again.
User Experience (UX)
Most of the time, sliders are used to display multiple messages within a single row. They allow you to cram five or six items into one place without taking up too much space on your webpage (or so you think).
But here's the thing... when it comes to web design and user experience, less is definitely more. Sliders are the antithesis of this philosophy. In fact, instead of making your website look cleaner and more professional, they often end up hurting it because there is so much going on at once that people get distracted and confused as to what exactly they should be looking at. With all those images whizzing by in a slideshow format, it's easy to get lost as a user and never find your way back.
Some people read faster than others. Some slower. When you set the default speed for a slider, it's impossible to match the reading speed of every site visitor, and inevitably you are creating a frustrating experience for someone. Sliders can seem to move so quickly for those with a slower reading speed that you are forcing them to decide between 3 options:
- Wait for the slider to cycle back around to the slide so they can finish reading it
- Frantically search for a manual method to return to the previous slide
- Leave the site altogether because the aggravation just isn't worth it
Obviously, none of these options are good. For example of what I mean, check this out.
Then there are the mobile users to consider. Nearly 54% of all website traffic came from mobile devices in 2021. It's important to keep things simple on the mobile versions of your site because most people aren't going to bother zooming in or out just to read your content. That's why using sliders is a great way to make your website look horrible on a mobile device.
Mobile users only want what is directly relevant for them at that particular time. Sliders are not relevant because they take up too much space on the screen and distract mobile users from the content that is actually important to them at that very moment in time (which, by the way, I'm assuming you're trying to sell).
User experience is about creating an environment where site visitors can find what they are looking for quickly and easily. Sliders do the exact opposite of that by providing a convoluted and distracting user interface.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
In case you're still not convinced, let me talk to you about SEO. The main reason to avoid using sliders is because they are terrible for your search engine ranking.
I have seen sliders on business websites that were actually hurting their search engine optimization because they often blocked pertinent information that should be the focal point of a webpage. A perfect example is a slider at the top of a webpage that blocks the main headline.
If you have a slider on your website, it's almost certain that you are blocking one or more important elements from being seen by search engine crawlers and site visitors alike. Sliders can easily hide valuable information behind another slide in the blink of an eye.
In order to rank well for certain keywords, you need to have those keywords in several places on your webpage. Often times, the main headline and the first paragraph are two key locations for placing keywords. When a slider is blocking that information from being seen, it's hurting your SEO efforts.
I can't even begin to count the number of times I've viewed websites with a slider in the main hero section at the top of the page that has 5 slides all using an H1 tag. The H1 tag is, of course, the most important contextual H-tag on any given page. You can only have one. Sliders are a great way to damage your site's SEO.
In short, sliders are terrible for user experience and search engine optimization. If you're still not convinced, I suggest you take a look at any of your website's analytics and see how many visitors are actually clicking on the slider. If the answer is "not many", then it's time to retire that slider for good.
Please, no more sliders!
*Note: I do not consider myself to be an expert at UX design or SEO. I'm just a bald-headed, bearded guy with lots of opinions who's not afraid to express them 😂. You don't have to agree with me, but in this case, I think you'll be better off if you do.