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Ignore The Naysayers: Why Sliders Still Belong On Your Website

Published: | Updated: | By Mara Certic

If you've spent any time reading up on the latest best practices for web design, you've probably found at least one article telling you to steer clear of sliding banners and images. Across the internet, critics and trend-followers are declaring that the slider’s days are done. But in spite of the backlash, there are still a large number of website designers, business owners, and internet users who understand the power of a good slideshow.

For example, Wix's supremely successful App Market features a prominent slider above the fold to highlight featured apps. The same can be said for the Weebly App Center, which employs a different layout to achieve the same goal. Our POWr Multi Slider widget is one of our most popular and highly rated plugins, and has been installed hundreds of thousands of times. Of course, there is some merit to the anti-slider movement: A 2013 Notre Dame study found that sliders themselves do not drive conversions, and earlier that year the Nielsen Norman group released a piece about carousels, which they said all too often can be less like fun fairs and more like “houses of horror.”

What's important to recognize is that much of this criticism is focused exclusively on marketing banner carousels, sliders dedicated solely to getting a click. The majority of slider studies ignore the larger contextual effect of moving images, videos, and information. Other research has found that when sliders are used in context and have high quality content, they actually boost clicks and conversions. Kyle Peatt, a designer and front-end developer for Mobify, explained when sliders work in an article for Smashing Magazine: “We use carousels to maximize that information density and maintain context without forcing the user to scroll further down the page.” Kyle explains that one excellent use is to add additional content in product descriptions.

So let’s float above the naysayers for a moment and focus on the benefits of sliders. You can add large amounts of content to your site, without consuming the entire page. Banners, images, and videos can all share space above the fold and reduce your reliance on user scroll. Sliders also catch the eye with movement and can help focus visitor attention. Blogger David Abramson noted that sliders tend to be most effective when featuring effective branding messages about what a company does rather than showing off promotions or trying to convert from within. Two of his helpful tips are: Ask yourself if the slider will add value to your site and make sure it’s not affecting your page’s load time.

If you think using a slider is right for you, then check out POWr Multi Slider. It’s a very simple way to add a carousel of images, videos, banners or all three to any website. With upgraded versions of the plugin, you can also customize your transitions, control timing and choose to auto-play videos.

Simply start editing the plugin and within moments you’ll have your own carousel. Choose to add an image, video, banner, document or event, and get customizing. You can add use any public video from YouTube or Vimeo and can add your own caption, or upgrade to remove the video title. Then, in the design tab of the POWr Editor, you can play with the design and size of your slider.

Using the “Plugin Width” tool in the POWr Editor, you can play around with how much space you want your carousel to take up. One of the most popular and most effective trends is to use sliders in place of a static page header, occupying the top third of a page. If your particular site builder limits the maximum width allowed, don’t worry. There's almost always a way to adjust this. For instance, if you're using the Weebly site builder, it’s just a matter of editing a few lines of code in the site's HTML file. These two tutorials explain how you can make your slider a specific size , or fit your header exactly.

The results can be stunning. For example, check out how the POWr Slider helps highlight the full product range on this Shopify store selling baby clothes and goods. The banner spans the entire page, showing off different styles and giving the visitor a detailed look at the brand's aesthetic.

A U.K.-based student nonprofit organization uses wide format banners on their site to create a clean, pristine look. By adding banners in the same color scheme as their website, they're able to match the carousel perfectly to the rest of the website, and give it a truly integrated feel.

Don’t forget that a slider is a great alternative to gallery. If you’re looking to save space on your website, like this Denver-based animation studio, a slider can help you prioritize which content you'd like visitors to see first. They used a POWr slider to show off their work, with the first slides dedicated to their most impressive projects.

How do you feel about sliders and carousels? Do you use POWr Multi Slider? Or another similar tool? Let us know in the comments section and share a link so we can check out your site.