Taking a Break from the Merry-Go-Round of Website Carousels

I must sit in at least two meetings a week where clients ask me, “Are website carousels still in”?  First, I’d like to define what I and my clients mean by carousels. You know how many homepages have a large area with rotating graphics, and some headline text?  That’s a carousel. Specifically, they are a functional element that allows multiple pieces of content to occupy a single, sought-after space.

Back to the question… “Are website carousels still in?” I have looked at research from an array of sources. And they all say the same things- carousels ONLY work when best practices are adhered to. Nielsen Norman Group also said that carousels do not work when they don’t use strong imagery, become more advertorial than informative or compelling, or when they don’t work.

With that being said, sometimes it’s good to jump off the merry-go-round from time-to-time and think of other ways to present content that would traditionally go in a carousel:

  • Incorporate stronger navigation to make it easier for site visitors to find information
  • Implement better IA on the homepage to allow for more feature areas such as News, Just Added/What’s New
  • Let images be your hero. Use more, bold, larger imagery on the homepage to draw attention to more than one key content area. Check out conservation.org. They do a great job of this. Or, check out this site.
  • Use the left or right rail of a page to incorporate pull out quotes, images, and other relevant bites of information

Have questions about how to make your carousel better, or are you ready to try something else? We’d love to hear from you!

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