When dialup evolved into broadband and we no longer had to try and limit an entire homepage to 100KBs, website homepages stopped becoming just magazine covers. We saw the introduction of larger images and soon after - MOVEMENT!
Whether you know it as a scrolling banner, slideshow, carousel or by some other name, moving banners on a website homepage is a very common sight these days.
It meant a business that offer several key services could keep all departments happy as they each get their bit of real estate on the front page.
When website designers were met with a client’s requirement to disapply everything they do on the homepage, we could conveniently hide content across multiple slides whilst still meeting the brief.
We’re Getting it All Wrong
But the website isn’t for the business owner or the designer for that matter, it should be for the audience.
Modern website design should be user focused, giving the user what they want to see, focusing their user journey, helping them along through their browsing experience.
It’s just like driving. Give someone too many road signs and the chances are they’ll get lost.
Just deal with one junction at a time. And you’ll reach your destination.
Various studies have gone on to show that show that movement is actually distracting and is often ignored, we’ve been shown so much content over the years that as users we’re now well-conditioned to ignore those little distracting banners we see at the edges of some websites.
Nielson Norman Group, self-proclaimed “World Leaders in Research-Based User Experience” ran a test in the UK for Siemens Appliances asked users to determine if there were any special offers for washing machines. The deal was the fist slide in a prominent banner area. But was simply overlooked!
Following on from the Nielson study Notre Dame University carried their own test and found only 1% of total visitors interacted with the carousel. To rub salt in the wound further of the 1% that clicked through from the carousel, 84% clicked the first banner.
From a visual point of view, it’s easy to think this big, bright, all signing, all dancing, banner on my homepage is amazing but the reality is you’re wasting valuable real estate.
So, if scrolling banners are not the right approach what is?
You still want your homepage to have impact, so stick with a single prominent feature. Decide what product or promotion you want to highlight and allow your designer to spend time doing one bit of graphic design well, rather than asking for half a dozen banner graphics.
Structure your deals and promotions. Focus on one at a time, instead of running four banners at any one time have one main one. If you still need to have four promotions perhaps make them lower priority feature blocks lower down the page.
Update the homepage regularly, imagine you have four promotions running on a scrolling banner, you set them up and never change them. Bin the scrolling banner and show one promotion but rotate it with the other three promotions on a regular basis. Depending on the traffic to your site you could change it numerous times a day, or perhaps replacing it each week or month is more realistic. That means each time a user returns to your site they’ll be likely to see new content.
John Lewis have ditched the slideshow.
So, you still want some movement? Well Magnet kitchens have come up with a nice solution. The promotion is static but we’re subtly shown a few different photos.
Scroll down a bit and bang! Plus, These Great Offers.
Still not convinced?
Why not ask us to take a look at your website and perhaps we could make some suggestions.