82 Responses

  1. Pippin

    I couldn’t agree more, Brian. I’m personally very proud of the fact that I don’t use sliders on my sites.

    I wrote a slider plugin a couple of years ago (it was one of my first commercial plugins) and it has been available up until today. As of 5 minutes ago, the plugin is off the market, and that thrills me.

  2. Elliott Stocks

    Totally agree! I hate seeing overuse of sliders (link to Flexslider is broke btw).

  3. Dave Donaldson

    So it’s not that you don’t like sliders, but more about where and how people use them. And I agree. Sliders have gotten a bit out of control.

    Using them for showcase and portfolio types of things makes the most sense, and hopefully as time goes on people will use them more appropriately.

    As for not having a slider be the only content on the page, it depends on the slider. Google loves text, but the good sliders make sure the title tags, alt text, and those sorts of things are in place to help appease the search engine overlords. Soliloquoy and MaxGalleria are both good at that.

  4. Ryan Hellyer

    I used to do a lot of work on sliders in the past. It annoyed me no end that most people should never have been using them.

    I placed one on my own site back then as I knew it would attract business to me. People saw the fancy slider whizzing around and paid me to put the same pile of code spew onto their own site, regardless of the performance implications involved in doing so.

    I don’t think they’re becoming less common these days, but it is becoming easier for people to add them to their site, so I think that’s a good sign for the future.

  5. Alex Patin

    Nice write up Brian. I pretty much couldn’t agree with you more. I consistently get clients asking to have a slider on their home page, usually its because “that’s what everyone else has”. It really is a cop out when it comes to designing sites as well. “What should we put under this navigation? I’ve got it, a giant bloated slider!”

    Glad you shared this – now I can show others how useless the sliders they want are.

  6. FAT Media

    You know what? You’re right. Screw sliders. I’ve quietly hated them for a while now and yet I’ve continued to use them pretty frequently. I’m not going to do it anymore.

    I just killed the slider on our main site and dropped almost a second and a half from page load according to pingdom. That grings the load time under a second without changing anything else. :)

    Speed & Function > Everything else.

    Great post Brian. Keep them coming!

  7. Paul

    it’s true that sliders have become a default item on a website, even if there’s no justification for it.
    It’s like the marquee tag, then the animated gif icons.
    It takes up the most valuable area of a website, the top of the home page where your most valuable content should be.
    If I have to use one on a client project, I generally roll my own with jQuery cycle lite and some custom fields. It’s a pretty lightweight script.
    If I need something more fancy, I’ll go with bxSlider.

  8. Gerasimos

    I don’t think there’s a sane person out there who doesn’t hate sliders.

    BUT.

    As long as the most popular Themeforest items have one, well, WordPress and sliders will live together.

  9. Chris Lema

    Now I know what makes you cry. :)

    Sliders do suck. I think I have only one on a post showing screenshots or slides. But nothing on main pages because they’re so slow.

    Great article.

  10. Bill Robbins

    Yes sliders are awful. No argument there.

    Last spring I created a theme that had an static home layout and a slider based layout. In the theme demo when I used the slider as the default, sales were 32% higher than when I used the static option as the default.

    I may hate them, but it’s hard to get around them when your customers expect to have a slider. If you don’t provide one, someone else will and they’ll get the sale.

  11. Mike Schinkel

    Hey Brian,

    Given how many people build, promote and sell sliders I was expecting your post to generate a lot of negative comments. Interesting that you got pretty much universal agreement. Me, I have no strong opinion about sliders, but then I don’t build sites so I don’t have wrestle with the decision.

    As a side note I find the dearth of blog posts regarding best practices for effective home page design interesting. When I need to build a site for my own purposes that’s the thing I always struggle with the most; why do so few people address this topic?

    1. Andrew Searles

      Well Mike,

      I’m glad you asked that. I agree with Brian, but I think sliders can be used good. So I thought I would write up how to use a slider right. There’s some rules to follow, a confession on my part, a mandate to other designers, and even a slider of sliders. Take a look. http://andysearles.com/blog/2013/01/13/how-to-make-sliders-not-suck/

      1. Mike Schinkel

        Hey @Andrew,

        Thanks for posting your followup. I particularly like your recommendation to use one content type per slider; that’s a great and helpful rule-of-thumb.

  12. How to Make Sliders Not Suck - Andrew Searles

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  13. James Koster

    Sliders are like assholes, everyone’s got one.

    On a serious note, this is our fault. We’ve spoonfed sliders to clients and customers for years because it’s an easy way to deliver that “cool” factor that everyone wants.

    “We want the homepage to “pop”!”

    “How about we make that intro graphic a slider?”

    “Yeah! Kick ass!”

    Not to mention the fact that the majority of web designers have very little UX knowledge to speak of and simply don’t acknowledge the points in your post during web site construction.

    It’s comes down to education. As pioneers in design/development it’s our duty to cast the spotlight on these issues. Not just to clients but to our peers. Sliders aren’t cool. Increased leads / turnover is cool and oftentimes the two are mutually exclusive.

    I commend this post, but It would be nice to have some hard evidence we can refer to that proves the sliders drawbacks (although I’m sure I’ve seen something like that somewhere). Our opinions alone count little against the raging slider fetish in the industry.

    Nice to see the positive actions in the comments here though!

  14. David Hickox

    I think the fundamental problem is that our clients don’t understand the medium. Clients tend to think of a website as a commercial or advertisement rather than an information resource. So things like Flash intros, walkout videos, and marquee text make them think that they are successful in grabbing the attention of visitors. Sliders are just the latest such attempt at providing ‘movement’ on a website, and since it’s not nearly as egregious as the aforementioned ideas, it’s viewed by a lot of designers as the best possible way to get out of that fixation and make the client feel they’re putting forth a good effort to engage visitors. As is typical with these things (especially Flash intros) the clients themselves are likely the only ones actually viewing this content.

    That said, I think sliders are often a way to avoid making decisions about message and focus. For that reason alone they should be avoided.

    1. TheodorosPloumis

      You are damn right. “Slider is the new Flash intro”!

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  16. Gilbert Pellegrom

    While I actually agree with most of your points Brian, I still think there is as place for sliders to be used correctly (as you say).

    I have no quarrels with the fact that most of my business income comes from the Nivo Slider WordPress plugin and I think the point you actually highlight here is the difference in perception between developers and clients as to what makes a “good” website.

    I’m still amazed at how popular sliders have become and as long as clients continue to demand them on their websites, developers will have to suffer putting them on their sites.

  17. Thomas Griffin

    Developers are always going to go where the money is! ;-)

  18. Andre

    I agree…actually, it’s really unfortunate that the end-users see themes with these “wow effects” of sliders, they flip out the credit cards. If one is dependent on selling themes, you almost have to use sliders. Try submitting a theme without sliders to Theme Forest and all I can say is “good luck!” on that one, lol.

    Overall though, sliders really do bloat websites and I personally do not like them too much. Granted, they do have their place, but to create themes and websites that seem to be built around sliders is annoying. But again, they sell….However, even if themes have to have sliders, the one thing I hate the most is when designers code them into the theme; I prefer the optional plugin concept better by letting the user decide.

    I think the challenge is to design an awesome front-end without the need of sliders that still grabs the attention of a potential theme buyer or client.

  19. William

    Really Glad to read this !
    I’m not Nostradamus, but I’m pretty sure you’ll have to write an article in the next month : parrallax sucks… :)
    It’s the problem with trends : overuse, misunderstanding,

    1. Andre

      …Parallax sliders….they look great and impressive to the buyers and they just gobble it up! But the fun begins when a person adds one of these to their site where the theme is using z-index on the page the slider goes on…so again, the fun begins! lol

  20. Diane

    This is a really interesting issue. I think sliders suck when they cycle the last few articles on a blog/mag, or have no real purpose. On the other hand, I personally tend to engage with sliders like this http://www.wayfair.com/ and http://thecoastalcupboard.com/.

  21. Randy Anderson

    Seems like a necessary evil in today’s web world for most clients, unless you have full reign over what the site or page will look like.. which since I am just a developer who hardly touches the design part of the sites, doesn’t happen much for me.

    Still though, I agree about sliders having their place. In fact, all of the flashiness of the web now-a-days has a place, and I wish they weren’t on my sites! Parallax and such… whatever happen to putting the content first instead of just making a good looking site that gave people the information they needed up-front?

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  23. Konstantin Kovshenin

    Dude, the slider at the top of this page doesn’t work, can you fix it? *
    * sarcasm

  24. Francis

    I don’t think that sliders suck – at all.

    Yes, they’re sometimes used when they are not needed. However I find them invaluable on business/charity websites when you can use them to convey the basics of the marketing message using images, colour and text on 5 or 6 slides.

    If each slide is on show for 8-10 seconds, that’s about a minute to convey the key points you want to get across so visitors can decide whether the site is for them or not. And because the slides are moving, the visitor has to expend much less energy and focus than if they spent that time reading the text on the home page.

    Of course there can be problems with loading times but properly compressed images and use of the fastest sliders should reduce the issue.

    What would be nice is some tests on different types of site to find out whether sliders do actually reduce site visit times or conversions. Until we get them, it’s all supposition….

    1. Andrew Searles

      Regardless of the load time for those images, I’m not sure that cutting up your marketing points into a slider is really the best use of a slider. If you have 5 points that you want to convey to your audience it would be best to put those on the page so that the user can see them all at once without having to move through a slider, because, without actual numbers, I can tell you not as many people are flipping through your slider as you might think.

      I do agree with you that sliders can be used for good. That’s why I wrote this post. Maybe it can help explain my argument a little more clearly. http://andysearles.com/blog/2013/01/13/how-to-make-sliders-not-suck/

  25. Mike Schinkel

    After more thought, I’ve decided that you are wrong and that Sliders don’t suck. Very cheesy, yes, but they don’t actually suck:

    Sliders

  26. Dragan Nikolic

    While I agree with almost everything written above and dislike sliders altogether, I would like to make a case in favor.

    Sliders exist because of the way most people’s brains work; reaction to moving objects, cheap design gimmicks and fuc%#!g wow factors (pop culture), impression a structure size nested within another structure gives (slider within a page screams “important”)… etc.

    I’m sure we’ll see less and less slider occurrences due to rise of mobile users where vertical scrolling rules, but I don’t think they will ever diminish; rather morph into something else.

    By the way.. if any of you think sliders should continue to exist, which options/features would be the most important to you? (ease of use, number of features or something else…)

    1. Andre

      I long for the day we return to the neon clip art graphics, blinking banners, mouse trails, and flashing elements all over the page :)

  27. Jurgen

    I couldn’t agree more. While small sliders can be used tastefully and functionally, most sliders are utter waste of space and bandwith (read: loading time). Especially those stupid full width, half page filling ones you see all the time on themeforest. Most themes look alike anyway, boring stuff…

  28. Syed Balkhi

    Sliders do the job very well if you know how to use it. The fact that most “designers” don’t know how to use it properly, and most customers don’t know what they want to accomplish from the slider results in statements like “sliders suck”.

    Should every site have a slider? NO (but this doesn’t mean that sliders suck for all the other sites that can use a slider).

    Lets get to the speed. Are all sliders fast? NO. Can you make them fast? YES. You can always lazy load the images. Want to get even more geeky. You can pre-fetch the dynamic content and cache it as aggressively as you want that would allow you to lazy load the content text as well.

    Whether you load that content in a slider or on the page “vertically” it is the same amount of content minus a script file. Now if you are putting content in a slider that you wouldn’t otherwise want to have on the page, then you are DOING IT WRONG.

    Sliders are not for mobile is also a generic statement which I don’t agree with. As a matter of fact it is a more logical action to put a slider with trending news rather than having your audience go through all the recent news to find the trending ones. Or would you rather want them to vertically scroll through the trending news first before they get to the recent news? I personally prefer to do the horizontal scroll for the important stuff.

    Can people do sliders wrong on mobile? Sure they can. But again making a general statement saying vertical is always the best doesn’t work. There is more to scrolling in a slider. The purpose of a slider is to organize a set of content which is very hard to do so vertically. This is the reason reason why we have multiple sliders in our iPhones or Androids to go through the apps and such. Why don’t Apple just make it a vertical screen and require people to vertically scroll through all the apps. Although I would say that the “folders” sorting is a nice method, but we don’t have something like that for the mobile web just yet.

    We can do tabs and call it a day. But tabs are just another type of sliders in my opinion.

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  30. Kim Frederiksen

    Hi Brian,

    A well written post, with a wrong target. Ultimately you are saying sliders suck because it makes the site load slower, and that makes our users leave. I agree, poor load times are not good for anything. But, really what you should have written about was the fact that web developers in most cases suck at web development, especially in this mobile day and age with data providers.

    Most web developers, simply don’t know how to optimize for speed, best practices, fast browser rendering etc. I agree with what you are saying, but in all fairness, I checked your frontpage and this particular page, and even though I actually do have a home made slider on our front page, which, yes, increases size, I still manage to deliver my front page at more than twice the size of yours, in half the time. This was the case when I checked from Amsterdam, New York and Dallas.

    http://tools.pingdom.com/fpt/#!/LeI7dazbp/http://krogsgard.com/

    http://tools.pingdom.com/fpt/#!/EB42u45dJ/http://olicity.com

    Looking at Google Pagespeed, your website is getting a decent 85/100 score

    https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights#url=http_3A_2F_2Fkrogsgard.com_2F&mobile=false

    The funniest part of course being that the biggest offender on your front page is the following:

    http://i0.wp.com/krogsgard.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/sliders-suck.jpg?fit=764%2C900 is resized in HTML or CSS from 764×398 to 634×330. Serving a scaled image could save 22.4KiB (32% reduction).

    Again, our slider filled, CSS3 packed, image stuffed, 1.1MB front page gets 94/100

    https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights#url=olicity.com&mobile=false

    And, yes, our site sucks big time in IE because of the slider being a big CSS3 showoff.

    Good discussion though ;-)

    Thanks,

    Kim

    1. Andrew Searles

      I agree with brian, there are a plethora of problems with sliders. One of them being that fact that it’s so easy to miss use them.

      I laughed when you first pointed out the speed issue between krogsgard.com and your own site. But to be honest, brian can fix that pretty easily and be good. But your slider has a lot of problems, one of them being it holds the most prominent position on your site and it’s hiding all of your content. You’ve essentially put all your Call to Actions or value props on different slides. People are bound to miss most of them. No one wants to sit there and read that. If something is important to tell a customer don’t hide it behind a slide.

      I mean it’s a pretty powerful statement to say that you’ve been working in SEO since 94 and kept your clients at the top ranks. But who will wait for that to come up? Also I would say it would be infinitely more powerful to show that you’ve helpful clients stay at the top for nearly 20 years. You could do that with a case study or two. Hell if there’s 3, you could put those in a slider and let people choose.

      Thanks for your post. It was a lot of fun seeing you try and rip Krogsgard a new one.

      a

  31. Mark Root-Wiley

    Great post. It almost exactly mirrors my feelings—even the strong language that I usually keep to myself in front of clients :)—and I made some similar points in a blog post I wrote a while back (http://mrwweb.com/effective-and-accessible-sliders/). I try to include the accessibility point as well, though it stems from most of the same issues that make Google hate sliders. I also really subscribe to the idea that sliders are the “easy way out” of making real decisions about the priority of content.

    One rule of thumb I’ve tried to use with sliders: Sliders are appropriate where you might use a video (i.e. visual story-telling).

  32. Mike Schinkel

    After reading a lot of the comments and seeing people discuss the pros and cons of sliders it occurs to me that client preference for sliders on a home page might be related to the difficulty so many business people have with setting a focus and sticking to it.

    A recent successful SaaS that has been noted for their focus is DropBox; most businesses don’t have that discipline. Instead I think they may want to use a slider so they can in effect (they think) have multiple home pages featuring multiple areas of “focus” instead of forcing themselves to condense their market positioning down to a single message.

    Why do I think this is? Because forcing oneself to distill everything down to one message is really, really hard. As I write this I realize it would be ironic if we had the same issue. But I am happy to say we are finally focusing our message after several years of trying to figure it out (please ignore how ugly our site is, we aren’t designers and haven’t had time to work with one to update the site.)

    The solution? Get clients to improve their marketing strategies. But that sadly is beyond the scope of why most WordPress site builders are hired in the first place. And most clients probably wouldn’t listen anyway.

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  35. Jason Bradley

    I totally agree with you here Brian. I actually created a static home page for my blog with a fluid Carousel slider. It looked cool, but page load speed and pageviews dropped. I decided to keep the page design, but move it over to my about page (where it probably made most sense in the first place) and move my blog to my homepage. I have since gained back those pageview and I am now obsessed with making my homepage load as fast as humanly possible.

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  40. Clear Design

    Lucky you’ve used ‘almost’ in your name of the article. Everything sucks if it is done without the taste and professionalism. Sometimes long articles about ‘what’s right and what wrong’ sucks too…

    Check out this site: http://www.idangero.us

    Most of the designs are nicely done. Sliders are not that bad. Isn’t iPad all about sliding :)

  41. Tom Schultz

    From over a decade ago when I had only low speed dial-up I have loathed complicated pages…especially home pages. When it used to take 5 minutes to find it wasn’t a site I wanted to follow to today when many have high-speed access, it shows a callous disregard for the less privileged internet users as well as glitz for no good purpose but to satisfy an ignorant executive.

  42. Cathy Presland

    This is really timely – I was just about to install a slider cos I see them EVERYWHERE – and yes – they do look nice. But they will not be appearing on my site anytime soon.

    Thanks!

  43. Michiel Brand

    I’m planning a new design for my site. Just like Cathy, I read this article at just the right time, since I was considering a slider for my homepage too :). Your arguments are pretty compelling and you have me convinced that a slider is only useful in particular circumstances. I was actually contemplating using a homepage slider for informational service pages and each containing a different click through/call to action. Oops, how wrong of an idea that was :). I’m just going to forget about that silly slider. Also speed is a major issue for me: using a CMS, page loading speed isn’t great in general and using bloating stuff like fancy sliders that take extra time to load aren’t making it any better. Thanks for your article Brian!

  44. Jerry Gitchel

    In early designs, folks used the automatic popup to market by interruption. Then everyone switched to little tiny video people who wandered onto the page from behind the edge of the screen. Brian, I can’t wait to see what the design community comes up with next. Perhaps it will be tiny video people holding up those spinning signs down on my street corner to hype pizza or tax preparation.

    People who visit your site want two things, relevant information, fast. It’s the only standard that counts when comparing all the “Cool” and current web design technology. I’ll take effective over cool any day.

    1. Mike Schinkel

      “People who visit your site want two things, relevant information, fast.”

      On the other hand people “selling” you something only want you to pay attention to them and “pay” them in what ever currency they solicit.

      Will that ever change? Doubtful. :)

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  48. Graham

    This really is a great post. I was actually searching for a slider script that I could use to better a current one on a client’s website because it loads far too slowly. Now I am seriously thinking I should try and convince them otherwise and rather not use the slider on their home page at all.

    Although I am still looking for a really nice fast slider (if there is one out there). This specific client runs on a custom CMS, so can’t use the great ones like Soliloquy for this one.

  49. Jacob Tanner

    We used to use sliders all the time before this mobile trend started happening now we see the pain they can call when building truly responsive mobile friendly sites.

  50. Aj Clarke

    I agree that most the time sliders are useless and should be avoided…I’m wondering though, if you are the lead the developer for infomedia..why is there a slider on nearly every main page?

  51. Aj Clarke

    Makes perfect sense. I was simply curious & now I know ;)

  52. Mark Corpuz

    Sliders for sliders sake (without purpose) is a waste. This is particularly true for websites that create sliders creating clutter for the mere benefit of having 3 or 4 useless items that only exists because there needs to be a slider.

    But having evaluated the pointlessness of sliders for “most” small sites, it does serve a very good and clear CTA for others. Consider sites that promotes discounted deals where a slider can immediately present that in an entertaining manner (like game sites). There are a lot more examples.

    I do believe that sliders doesn’t have to stretch from left to right or occupy the full width of the site. I think there are methods to which sliders can be used in combination to a static graphic for the purpose of adding a dynamic cta approach limited on it’s own space.

  53. Milo Nej

    In my opinion, we use sliders because clients want them, period. I know they are bad, as cluttered home pages are bad, but, can we do better?

    Of course we can, but it has nothing to do with the home page: in my experience, I focus heavily on business sites and SEO, very seldom a visitor will access the site through the home page; it is more likely the he will enter it as a result of a search and THEN, may be, proceed to have a look at the rest of it.

    I don’t thing sliders are the real problem: clients are. Just make sure that you provide alternative landing pages.

  54. Kate

    I came here to look into perspectives on usability of sliders, but I found this article very confusing. In the first place, I think you are talking about a certain class of sliders. I can’t recall seeing any examples of the class of sliders you are talking about (IF I understand it correctly), and you didn’t provide any visual examples.

    In my case, I am faced with designing forms for survey data. The client likes sliding scales, and thus would like sliders, primarily to show the relationship between selections. For example: “Rate the speaker’s Intonation: Mostly inaccurate, Predictable inaccuracy(ies), Mostly accurate, Native-like.”
    Now, for the record, I am going to recommend drop-down menus anyway, mainly for accessibility reasons, but it would be nice if your article would be clearer that you are not talking about this kind of slider.

    At least, I THINK you’re not talking about this kind of slider. Or are you?

    1. Mark Root-Wiley

      Kate, your confusion is reasonable. What you’re looking for is also called a “slider” (example: http://jqueryui.com/slider/), but this article is discussing “slider” as in slideshow (example from article: http://www.woothemes.com/flexslider/)

      And of course, if you’re hungry, there’s always White Castle ;) http://www.whitecastle.com/food/menu

  55. Christopher-Duluth

    As a business owner, I can tell you these sliders on the main landing page are a huge annoying distraction. More-over, if anyone can lead me to where a collection of good slider-less (non-flash) templates are, I would greatly appreciate it!!!!!

    Christopher-Duluth

  56. Jayne

    Thank you so much for this article. I am very new to website building and am building my own website using WP. In all it’s design phases, my website has had a slider – now I’m off to go and redesign the home page without one after reading this and several other articles explaining why I shouldn’t have one.

    If I can’t reconfigure the theme that I’m using to drop the slider I will be back to square one looking for a decent theme without one.

    Thanks again for a great article – much appreciated.

  57. Woody

    I think it depends on the website. In construction they are necessary. I cant think of another way to show four or five houses effectively. Sure they add load time. But I set mine up to be mobile friendly.

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