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Why Homepage Image Rotators Are Bad But We Still Like Them

Why Homepage Image Rotators Are Bad But We Still Like Them

LoveHateConfusedAn interesting trend in web design lately that is intriguing is the emergence of image rotators which can be found on a countless number of website home pages. But why?

Why We Like Homepage Image Rotators

  1. They show off several large images.
  2. They allow us to have multiple calls to action.
  3. They allow us to show off our latest news / events.
  4. They have animation making the site seem more alive.
  5. Everyone else has one.

All of these things are truths and may be important to you or your organization but let me explain why nearly all of these reasons have a glaring problem.

Why They Are Bad!

1. They show off several large images

Large images take a long time to load. Most rotator systems haven’t handled the concept of lazy loading and will end up greatly increasing the load time of your homepage.

2. They allow us to have multiple calls to action

Having monitored the analytics closely for a number of years the details will surprise you. There is roughly a 85% drop off in click through rates between the first slide and the second. That rate continues for each additional slide added to your rotator.

This means that for every slide you have your chances of someone seeing the next slide and more importantly taking action on it has dropped so significantly you may consider why you’re essentially hiding this content from people.

3. They allow us to show off our latest news / events

Homepage image rotators are almost always at the top of site just under or to the right of your navigation. This means that it will be the first thing your visitors will see, as far as real content, when they visit your site. So you need to ask yourself: “Does this first slide speak to both new and returning users?”

Once you consider that some other interesting questions will arise:

  • “Do my repeat visitors stay on my homepage?”
  • “Do they even even go to my homepage at all for that matter?”

So that begs the ultimate question. “Who is seeing the special event I posted on slide 4?”….

4. They have animations making the site seem more alive

It’s true that animations catch peoples eye. It’s also true that the average persons attention span on a webpage is about 10 seconds.

In many cases there are two outcomes. Your user either finds what they were looking for in under 10 seconds and goes there or they didn’t and leave. Either way it’s a lose lose proposition for a image rotator that may take 7-10 seconds to rotate to the next slide.

Many rotators are also poorly designed and float the additional slides horizontally hidden out of view. This technique forces the browser to render the extended width of the entire page causing longer render times and slower overall page loads.

5. Everyone else has one

As a design element a homepage image rotator is an eye catching delight. When you’re shopping for designs ideas or simply looking at your own site you notice them as you spend the extra time to observe how the site operates. But as mentioned before. Most people aren’t admiring your site for its design beauty as you do with your own site; they’re interested in its content and they want it quick.

In Conclusion

Be aware of the significance of what a homepage image rotator design element adds and subtracts from your websites experience and make sure you’re adding it for the right reasons.

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Jonathan Sheely

Sr Software Engineer at InspectorIT. Jonathan is an out of the box thinker who has over 10 years experience building and supporting web application software and infrastructure. Jon specializes in ASP.NET C#, Javascript and CSS but is willing to learn anything that gets the job done.

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