Another annoying website feature

Does your website have a large photo or gallery of pictures that moves across the screen every three or four seconds? If your site was made in WordPress, the chances are that you have what WP calls a featured content slider. And you may love your slider, but the evidence suggests that your users don’t.

I confess that I dislike sliders. The images are often very big, taking up space with fluff where the important content should be. Then, just when my eyes have focused on them, they move, and I scrabble around to find some control that will stop them.

My feelings aside, what matters is whether users like them and whether they enhance or damage the effectiveness of your website. If users don’t like your slider you may be losing potential clients, customers and sales.

A recent test compared the sales generated by static images of product categories on a web page and images of particular products on a slider. The static images generated 75% more sales than the slider.

That test is backed up by a usability study conducted by Jakob Nielsen. He calls the slider a carousel or accordion, but the principle is the same: it’s big and it moves without the user’s say-so. So if someone is offering to put a slider on your website because it looks cool, think carefully. And if you already have one, you may have second thoughts.

In case you’re wondering why this post is headed “another” annoying feature, the first annoying feature I blogged about was the way so many websites force you to do things you don’t want to do. I’ll be following up that post with more evidence that this feature too is counter-productive.

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