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Glenn Stovall
Glenn Stovall

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What BuzzFeed Can Teach Us About Image Sliders

Image sliders: People don’t click them, read them, or like them. You can come up with a better way to use your home page and present your content.

Image sliders are ubiquitous across the web. I can’t complain, I’m part of the problem. Over the years I’ve built my fair share. However, now when asked I shy away from using them. No matter what you are trying to accomplish, an image slider is probably not the best way to go about it.

What Is The End Goal?

Let’s start looking at some of the reasons you may consider an image slider:

  • You have multiple images that you want to display on the web page. You’ve seen them in other designs or it came with the theme you are using for a project.
  • You want something that visually draws attention.

When displaying multiple images, sliders will often have the opposite effect you want. Because of their ubiquity and similar visual appearance to ads, people ignore them. Since the most typical location of a slider is front and center on the homepage, this means you are spending the most valuable real estate of your website on something that people instinctively ignore. You should use that space for content that will do work for you.

Sliders Are Sloppy

Another issue presented with sliders is that you are trying to divide the focus of the user among multiple things. If there is a situation where you have multiple items you want to draw attention to, instead pick the most important and focus on that instead. Move the others down the hierarchy or remove them altogether. Studies have shown that a single image is more effective than an image slider.

BuzzFeed’s Big Idea

When BuzzFeed first started, do you know what their big innovation was? What made their content so attractive and shareable.

They killed slide shows.

Have you ever clicked an article with a title like “21 Mind-Blowing Facts about the Marvel Cinematic Universe” and found a slideshow where you had to click through? Maybe there were 28 slides for the 21 facts, so they could squeeze in an intro, outro, and an ad or five.

Instead, BuzzFeed removed this altogether and placed all of their content on one page. People loved how easy it was to read, and BuzzFeed had a meteoric rise.

Put Your Content In A Reader-Friendly Format

Every site is different, but here are some recommendations:

  • Do you need every one of these images? Every element must justify itself. Consider what you could cut.
  • Is there another format you could place the content in, similar to how BuzzFeed solved the problem? Placing all of the images on the page, where the user can see everything without waiting or clicking is likely a better experience.

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