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Carousels: Heroes or Villains?

Jeff Kerekes - Associate Director of UX

Imagine this, you’re a stand-up comedian performing at a sold-out show. You begin to tell a  joke, but not just any joke — this is your BIG joke, the one you know will get tons of laughs. You’re actually FAMOUS for this joke and people specifically go to your gigs to hear it.

Then you think, “Wait, I also have another joke that’s pretty good! Not as good as the one I’m telling now, but I definitely want these people to hear it too! It’s my SECOND BEST JOKE!” 

So, halfway through your big joke you switch gears and start telling the second joke. As you begin, you see the audience start scratching their heads. “What happened to the first joke?” one patron calls out. This causes you to panic and change to yet ANOTHER joke without delivering a punchline. People start to disperse because they have no idea what is going on, so you decide to go back to that BIG joke that everyone loves.

But it’s too late.

The crowd is gone, and you never got to finish telling a single joke.

Ready for the entire point of this setup? If you are using a carousel treatment in the hero section of your website, you are the comedian who isn’t finishing a joke.

That’s right, carousels fragment your messaging and are proven to be terrible heroes. If you want your users to be able to quickly and easily understand what your site is about, then carousels are actively working against that goal.

Don’t just take my word for it, there are plenty of studies and data that point to this as well!

“People often immediately scroll past these large images and miss all of the content within them, or at least the content that’s in any frame other than the first.” – Nielsen Norman Group

“We have tested rotating offers many times and have found it to be a poor way of presenting home page content.” – Wider Funnel

“It may be tempting to include a carousel on your homepage, but resist the urge. The research clearly shows that even though carousels may be useful for showing off a large amount of content in a single space, they almost always hurt your conversion rate.” – The Good

I could post a ton more quotes, but you get the idea!

If you want your audience to see and digest a message, carousels are not your hero . . . they are your villain.

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