Should I use a carousel?

Homepage carousels are almost ubiquitous in web design today, with a almost every homepage having some form of rotating element or another. These have got to the point where they have become a standard feature, and in my last employment I don’t know a site that didn’t have one.

There appears to be little research into the effectiveness of such things, where a lot of the time these are placed on the site as a way of pleasing different departments within an organisation and highlighting lots of homepage content.

Should I use a carousel is a site I came across last week which challenges the effectiveness of these items by supplying data about how little they are used on some sites. It’s a handy resource for looking at some stats, but the biggest thing I drew from the site was that sites should have comprehensive tracking of each element and interaction to measure the success or failure of these.

Like everything on the web, carousels will be appropriate in some cases but not others but the only way of knowing that is to measure that on your site. In order to fully understand your sites users and measure it’s effectiveness the site should be reviewed regularly and any under-performing areas looked and and addressed. If you have a carousel on your site and it is a well used feature then it can be left, however if there is a lack of interaction then considerations for replacing it should be looked at. Anything on the website should be justified in being placed and when it stops being effective then alternatives must be sought.

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