Conversion Rate Optimization, Ecommerce Growth

Stop Using Sliders (Or At Least Make Them Better)

The slider is one of the most hated elements by optimizers. While I agree that there are reasons to despise the slider, it has become a popular element that some organizations just won’t change. It’s unfortunate, but even in the data-driven world office politics dictate what gets done. If you’ve been trying to nix your slider, but can’t get approval here are some tips to get the most out of this notorious conversion killer.

Test The Slider Timing

As we all know, timing is everything – this couldn’t be more true with auto-rotating sliders. Sliders that transition too quickly will become a major distraction. Motion is hands down one of the most distracting elements on any page, that’s why display ads love to use motion – it grabs our attention.

Unfortunately for you, the slider will start to distract visitors while they are focusing on other content. If your primary offer doesn’t fit their needs, they will begin to scan the page. When your slider rotates, it disrupts natural eye flow!

I highly recommend using longer slide time intervals (~10 seconds) for two reasons:

  1. It allows the visitor to consume the content
  2. There is less of a chance of disrupting a visitor

Test The Primary Offer

I’ve gone on record saying that the slider is a lazy answer to a complex problem: developing a strong value proposition. It’s a lot easier to show several different offers instead of one perfectly crafted offer. If you have to have a slider, you should test the slide that is in the first position.

If you stack the deck with your most compelling offers, your visitors won’t even spend enough time on the page to see the other slides. Don’t just put images up haphazardly, think about which value prop will generate the most revenue!

Turn Off Auto-Rotation

Before Vistaprint removed their slider entirely, they used a slider that didn’t rotate automatically. This slider had three slides, and the user had to interact with the slides to see the other offers. Here’s an example:

Slide 1:


Slide 2:


Making the customer interact is a good way to deal with the slider. You eliminate any chance for motion distraction and transition visitors from a passive reader to an active participant – that’s a win-win.

Notice if you go to Vistaprint today, they have completely redesigned their site without the slider. So even with a slider design that works, they opted to use a static offer.


Test The Slide Style

Earlier I talked about how distracting motion is on your website. Brian Massey, The Conversion Scientist, shared a very interesting learning in his post about sliders. He found that using a fade out versus a hard slide change helped increase slider conversions. I honestly wouldn’t have thought to try that test, and think it is absolutely worthwhile. Transition your images softly is a great way to eliminate losses due to motion distraction.

So that’s my list! Though I do prefer a good ol’ static image over a slider – I am well aware that we can’t always get what we want. If  you’re stuck with your slider, test out these suggestions and tell me how it goes.


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