On Carousels.

Look, I get it. You have prime real-estate right at the top of your page. The very first thing people see when they land on your site. Why not push as much content in there as you possibly can?

Because

time

and time

and time

and time again

sliders have shown to be ineffective, or at the very least, frustrating.

Why? Lets look at a couple of the top reasons.

Carousels are bad UX. Period.

They force an interaction to display content, behind often obtuse controls. Do I click an arrow button (often absolutely positioned with weird click targets)? Do I swipe on mobile? Do I even know you have additional content for me?

Think about your own browsing behavior. Do you linger at the top of a homepage, waiting for automatic sliders? Do you click through every slider option presented to you?

I certainly don't, and I'd be hard-pressed to find anyone in my non-technical circle who does, either.

Carousels often introduce technical debt.

While open source sliders (and some closed sourced sliders) have gotten much better about being lightweight and technically sound, they still add additional resources to your site. Sometimes it's just JavaScript with whatever front-end styling you wrote custom. Other times, it's bundles of JS + CSS, sent to every single one of your customers. Sometimes you're hosting it (to you finance types, that's dollars and cents), sometimes it's on a CDN, a platform that's beyond your control.

Ever have a CDN go down on you? While it doesn't happen often, it is a real possibility, and speaking from experience, it's not pretty.

They just don't work.

Peruse the articles linked above. You'll quickly discover a common trend among them - designing and implementing a good carousel is a huge challenge and you'd arguably be better off avoiding them altogether.

Use your prime web real-estate to really push a clear, concise call-to-action instead. You might be surprised at the results.

And if you still find yourself wondering if a slider is the right fit for you, I encourage you to visit this site.


If you would like to read more of my ramblings on development topics, watch this space, as we'll be publishing the second article in our series on building our new main site in Gatsby in the coming weeks!

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