Carousels and Slideshows

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Carousel as a hero unit

Carousels, slideshows, image sliders – they go by many names and you can find them anywhere on the web. Web site owners love these kinds of UI elements because they look good and are able to feature a lot of content in a very confined space. Or at least that is what you should think.

But Nielsen Norman Group has actually done some research on the subject and the conclusion turns out to be less optimistic. “Don’t use them, unless you know exactly what you are doing” – seems to be the lesson:

[…] if you are using a carousel in the hopes that people will see a variety of content, know that some people will only see the first frame or none at all.

Brad Frost reaches the same conclusion.

How to feature content effectively

Both Nielsen Norman Group and Brad Frost state that carousels can work, but only if

  • they consist of 5 slides or less
  • text and images are crisp-looking and clear
  • has obvious navigation

For featuring your content effectively, Nielsen Norman Group recommends using a single, static content element as a hero unit.

Here is a proposal. If you need to feature more than one message then perhaps the hero unit could shuffle randomly through different content on page load? Now, there is an idea for a WordPress plugin.

Translations: Danish →

Author: Morten Brunbjerg Bech

Webdesigner, front end udvikler og bibliotekar. Arbejder primært med udvikling og design af Horsens Kommunes Bibliotekers webløsninger og er specialist i semantisk strukturering af webdokumenter samt Adobe Photoshop og Illustrator.

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