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One of the most requested features on a website we receive is for a homepage slideshow. We get it - everyone has one, it’s an interesting interactive first impression, and it's an easy way to display any kind of content you want your users to see.  

However, these slideshows are often one of the most ineffective ways to communicate information, and can greatly hinder your site’s overall impact. So, before you request a homepage slideshow, consider these following things:

1. A Homepage Slideshow is Rarely Interacted with

Despite popular opinion, slideshows are rarely interacted with by users. Studies have shown that at best, users will only click on the first slide before moving on, and disregarding the rest of the information. Due to this behavior, we often see clients hiding valuable information in slides that will never be seen by their users.

2. A Homepage Slideshow Takes Up Prime Real Estate

A homepage slideshow request is often followed up by the specifications of a slideshow being placed at the top of the website, and spanning the full width. The top section of your website is your first impression on your user. It’s the first opportunity to make a statement, call to action, or place a user on a path through your site.

This should be one of your most thoughtful sections of your homepage; however, we often see clients using these slideshows for news articles, blog posts, or links to internal pages. While these are all important pieces of a site, it is rare for a user to care about this information when they first land on the site. This section of the site should be your most thoughtful call to action, rather than a dumping ground of information.

3. A Homepage Slideshow Causes Frustration

Slideshows have also been found to cause user frustration. Automatic rotating slideshows in particular can be disruptive to a user who is reading the slide. They often cause the user to focus on using the site to return to their original slide, instead of absorbing information or completing an action. Furthermore, rotating slideshows can be perceived as advertisements, causing the user to skip them altogether.

So, What Should We Do?

Before investing time into adding a slideshow to your site, you need to ask the following questions first:

  1. Where Do Your Current Users Spend the Most Time?

The answer to this question should dictate what type of call to action occupies that prime section of your site. This information can be gleaned from tools like google analytics or user session studies.

  1. What is the Goal of Your Website?

While this seems like a basic question, we find clients can have difficulty answering and sticking to this goal. For example, if the answer to this question is enrolling users in a membership program, you should consider including a call to action in the top section of your site that pushes users to a page where they can enroll.

Already Have a Homepage Slideshow?

Consider conducting a study on the effectiveness of your homepage slideshow. Things you would want to review would be:

  1. Heat Maps: Review the amount of mouse lingers over your current slideshow. This is indicative of a user who is pausing to read the slide.
  2. Click Through Numbers on the Slideshow:  Are your users viewing content past the first slide? Are they interacting with the slideshow arrows to view more content?
  3. Interactions with the Slideshow Content: Are your users clicking the “Read More” buttons or viewing the suggested content from the slideshow?

If you cannot draw any conclusions from your slideshow study, that is a flag as well. Why have something so large and prominent on your homepage that adds no distinguishable value? Just because something is trendy or looks nice, doesn’t mean it is helping your company achieve its goals, which should be the primary target when all things are said and done.

Here are some other articles on why Homepage Slideshows are not the best idea for your website:

If you would like to continue the conversation, feel free to leave a comment below or contact us to speak with a web expert.