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What is everybody's obsession with homepage slidehows?

Discussion in 'Website Design Forum:' started by tr2005, Jun 10, 2014.

  1. tr2005

    tr2005 New Member

    In the vast majority of websites I work on, clients want a homepage slideshow on there. Even when I have a job outsourced to me by an agency, they want a homepage slider. I've even had clients demand to have a homepage slider containing nothing but pointless generic STOCK PHOTOS

    Personally I really don't like them, I'd rather (in most cases) display all the information onscreen at once... such as through call to action boxes for instance. That way the user is better able to visit the part of the site that they are after.

    I think the appeal of sliders is because you can cram a load more content onto a webpage without clogging up the layout, but if the majority of it is hidden away until the slides advance, then what's the point?

    I hardly ever even pay attention to sliders when browsing myself. I've noticed other web designers slating them but I've struggled to find any decent usability studies on the matter. It would be great to have some so that I could justify to clients that they're not always a great idea.

    I'm not saying I think they are *always* a bad idea, just I think they are massively overrated and in a lot of instances it would probably make sense to have something static, yet more eye catching (as of course the design of a page can often be hindered when it needs to work with a slider).

    What are everybody else's thoughts?
  2. A good question, I neither agree nor disagree as I think it depends on what the intention of the sliders is, for example on my site there are 3 or 4 slider images but they are nothing more than graphics, just changing images to make the home page a bit more "dynamic" than a completely frozen page. It's also a fairly small part of the home page with the actual content being placed just below it.

    If the sliders are being used as a place for displaying important information on the other hand then from that point of view I would certainly agree with your comments. People shouldn't have to stumble upon the part of the website they actually want to see, it should be clear and easy to get to.
  3. tr2005

    tr2005 New Member

    I see your point! As stated I don't necessarily think they are always a bad idea. It just annoys me how so many clients (both direct clients and a lot of agencies) are set on having sliders before they've even really thought about anything else. So right from the start you know the design is going to be limited as it will need to work with a homepage slideshow (often one that can be updated through a CMS)

    Oh well, at least I have a couple of clients who will go with something a little different! ;)
  4. I think there are a lot of difficulties in the world of web design caused by several factors, there are those that know, those that don't know and those who know but don't seem to care. What I mean by all that is some people don't understand the importance of META titles and think "oh but I want it to say..." without thinking about whether there are keywords in it or not. Others such as web designers should know but don't seem to have told their clients as I've seen lots of new snazzy looking websites with terrible optimization (another case of fashion over function) so it's no surprise that people will ask for things like sliders "because that's what other sites have" without actually questioning the purpose or the benefits of such a feature. Just something we have to live with unfortunately! lol
  5. Paul Murray

    Paul Murray Moderator Staff Member

    I think you're right in the thinking that it's about displaying more information in a non-invasive way i.e. not crammed in or requiring a user to scroll, or simply clients wanting more ("Our competitors' sites all have slideshows so I think we need one too to compete"). Personally I quite like adding them in from time to time to give the front page a bit more of a 'dynamic' feel, but only if they serve a particular purpose. Often I think they're just bad for UX because they hide away information or require a user to click something to find it.

    However, I think it could also be a case of lazy design. So many sites are now just looking generic in terms of layout and content. I understand that their are conventions that tend to be followed, but nowadays it seems like sites in a certain industry are all looking very similar, particularly design agency sites; Start with a witty/pretentious statement about yourselves (ideally with a group shot, bonus points if you're all doing/wearing something crazy), follow it up with a generic statement about what you actually do, but don't forget to throw in some power words like "performance" and "results", then a list of services, some thumbnails of your work, a few testimonials from clients, include a massive contact form, throw some JQuery effects on and you're done.

    That was a little side-rant, but honestly I don't get that inspired by many website designs now. There's some great stuff out there, but sites like seem to be showcasing sites that are pretty dull and generic a lot of the time (which I'm sure has nothing to do with the fact that you pay to submit your site to them…) and sites like this are where clients/designers go for inspiration. It's no wonder everything's looking the same.
  6. tr2005

    tr2005 New Member

    Some interesting points here!

    Don't forget to throw the line "Pop in to our studio sometime for a brew!" into the mix too ;) haha
  7. Edge

    Edge Active Member

    I agree that sliders have somehow gained a foothold with no data to support their effectiveness. Clients decided they look cool and that was it.
    However they significantly increase page load time as they usually consist of large images. Why does my page load so slow? BECAUSE IT HAS TEN 3MB IMAGES IN THE SLIDER! Page load time is a significant ranking factor and most of these sliders are loading on mobile so the page takes ages to load on phones. Then some developers hide the slider on mobile BUT it's still loaded (just not displayed). Performance on mobile is also a significant ranking factor.

    The sliders, if you are to have one, need to be rewritten as follows:

    - load only 1 image and don't auto-play (provide a next arrow which pulls in the next slide using ajax)
    - load the image as a background image and then that way we can avoid loading it on mobile

    I think one recurring theme is 'We want a bit of movement. We want the page to be dynamic'.

    I think one way forward might be to rotate the slides; so show one of them week 1, another week 2 and that way it looks like the site is always being updated.
  8. Edge

    Edge Active Member

    To be honest it's not just now but it's pretty much always been like that except right at the beginning of the web before fashions and convention took a hold. There were some bizarre websites. Some of them were so bizarre that people couldn't actually figure out how to use them. Dude - where's the friggin menu?

    I still find plenty of sites that I find stimulating, I like large forms as opposed to poky little ones, some sites use jQuery quite cleverly and skillfully and I'd say I'm constantly in awe at the level of expertise and creativity I see on some sites.
  9. thingstodo

    thingstodo Member

    I hate them! (even though I have one on my site)

    I think people want them just because everyone else has them so they think that is the thing to do.

    I will get rid of mine when I finally build up the courage.

    And if I ever do do another, what Edge ^ says above, use an ajax call to load images, as mobile is becoming more and more important, and it's just silly loading huge images on mobiles.


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