Website Design has always drawn debate on what’s right and wrong.
SEO strategies, UX, design trends and development techniques create constant discussion amongst website design agencies and even within the walls of the Logic Design studio, our opinions sometimes differ.
That’s the great thing about design, on many occasions there isn’t a right or wrong and it simply comes down to an opinion. As individuals, our brains interrupt design differently and what appeals to a certain audience could be detested by another. Whether a website design has static or sliding banners is one of those opinion splitting topics and here at Logic Design, we thought we’d take a closer look at both options.
As a sliding banner is the more advanced choice in regards to development, it’s easier to focus on the positives and negatives adding this functionality can provide. One of the big gains of having a carousel on your website design is that you have the opportunity to deploy various key messages in a highly visual way but without extending the website vertically. The knock on effect is that these messages will not show immediately meaning it will require a user to either wait for the slide to appear or, to select the slide themselves – something they may or may not do. Naturally, this makes the first slide the most critical should a user not see any of the others but it does bring up an important question; is the information relayed on the additional slides available elsewhere on the page? If not, there’s a very good chance some users will not know this particular service / product exists and that could lead to lost business.
Next up is the speed of the slides and how regularly they change as again, this can have a big impact on their success. It’s tempting to make the transition between each one quite fast simply so you have more chance of each message being displayed. Last year, statistics harvested by Chartbeat suggested a whopping 55% of users will spend less than 15 seconds on a website which is representative of the fast paced, time critical world we live in. Instead of detailed information we look for short, snapshots of data meaning we don’t have long to grab a reader’s attention. You would therefore expect that quicker transition to lead to a greater content digestion however if the transitions are too fast, the user simply won’t be able to read the message.
One way to overcome this to allow users to change between each slide at their discretion. By adding arrows or dots to each banner visitors are able to switch between them however; our own research into this provided some interesting results. Having monitored both click through rates and heat maps over a range of websites, it showed these navigational tools are not regularly used and instead, users typically engage with more standardised menus or buttons. That isn’t to say they’re never used but it does still mean content only available within these banners could easily be missed.
So is there a right or wrong answer on this occasion? Personally, I believe that the positives of a carousel outweigh the drawbacks but only if used correctly. Unique content should never be placed in any of the slides as it can be overlooked. Instead, this information should be available elsewhere on the page and the banners should simply reinforce the message if a user chooses to view them. If the carousel is going to rotate automatically short, sharp messages will help outline the message before the transition to the next slide occurs. Combining this with the ability to move between the slides will also enable users to go back to information that appeals to them.
If you take the mind-set that a carousel should reiterate information already available and provide alternative channels to specific content located within the website, they can be a highly effective promotional tool and a fantastic way to enhance the aesthetics of your website design. Should you have content specific to the banners or too much information though, there’s a good chance they could actually be harming your website’s performance