Home Page Image Sliders(aka Carousels) Are Not Effective

Websites frequently use Image Sliders or Carousels on their home page. Website Analytics data from numerous sources indicate that this is a poor tool for presenting content on the home page. Our own internal tests correlate with the data from the other sources.

The most frequently cited study on slide carousels was on the data provided by Erik Runyon for the University of Notre Dame’s website. This data shows that only 1.07% of visitors clicked on slides in the featured marketing banner carousel.

I am including that data here for convenience. The link to the full study can be found at the bottom of this page.

Stats from ND.edu

  • Homepage visits: 3,755,297
  • Percentage that clicked a slide in the home page carousel: 1.07%

Percentage of total clicks for each slide:

  • Slide 1: 89.1%
  • Slide 2: 3.1%
  • Slide 3: 2.4%
  • Slide 4: 2.8%
  • Slide 5: 2.6%

Home Page Sliders Are Not Effective

The data shows that of the 1.07% of users that clicked on the slides, 89.1% simply clicked on the first slide. Slides beyond the initial view had a dramatic decrease in visitor interaction.

Since the publication of that data, numerous experts have chimed in confirming that Slide Carousels on the home page are not effective including Luke Wroblewski. At the time of this article Luke is a Product Director at Google. Previously he was the CEO and Co-founder of Polar, (acquired by Google in 2014) and the Chief Product Officer and Co-Founder of Bagcheck (acquired by Twitter in 2011), the Chief Design Architect (VP) at Yahoo!, Lead User Interface Designer at eBay, Senior Interface Designer at NCSA, and the author of three popular Web design books (Mobile First, Web Form Design & Site-Seeing: A Visual Approach to Web Usability) in addition to many articles about digital product design and strategy. He is also a consistently top-rated speaker at conferences and companies around the world, and a Co-founder and former Board member of the Interaction Design Association (IxDA).

It should be pointed out that some users have data that indicates that carousels are more effective than the data we are presenting here, and there is still some debate on just how effective or inneffective carousels are. There appears to be a correlation between the Slide Carousel Click Through Rate and the nature of the content being displayed. The biggest factor effecting this appears to be how FRESH the content is, and how frequently it is updated. Content that is frequently updated with current information will produce better results with sliders and carousels.

If you are currently using a carousel on your website, add tracking codes if they are not already in place and measure the effectiveness of it as an element on the page.

Sources:

http://erikrunyon.com/2013/07/carousel-interaction-stats/

http://shouldiuseacarousel.com/

About the author: Craig Delger

Craig Delger has over 30 years experience with software development. He has founded numerous technology companies, and has worked for several publicly traded software companies including Red Hat and Microsoft. Craig has consulted with over 100 companies on Internet Technology and Internet Marketing. Craig is a long-time user and advocate of open source software. Learn more about Craig's background.