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I have started updating my companies website to be more accessible and as I began to work on our carousel slider I ran into numerous articles stating that carousels should be avoided all together. The main reasons being they are typically inaccessible and often unused.

The website I am working on has an Add-Ons carousel positioned below the product and description the user is currently purchasing. It is a bit similar to the panel Amazon has that offers Frequently bought together products. The main difference is that our add ons require some description and are not as image forward.

Currently our carousel only has 5 items in it and I don't see that number growing past 10.

So the ideas I currently have to replace the carousel are:

#1. A vertically scrolling panel

  • I'm not really sure that this would be used more than the carousel, however it may be possible to fit all the items on the screen at once.

#2. From the product page after the user clicks next or checkout navigate them to an add-ons page.

  • This could be a stand alone page or a modal. It would provide enough space to display all of the items at once and it would assure that the user sees the potential add on choices.

#3. Open up a side panel (replacing the side navigation) with a scrollable list of add ons.

  • This would require a back or exit option so the user could switch back to the side navigation panel.
  • Additionally, this is probably the least accessible of the options because it requires the user to tab to a side panel to make a selection.

If anyone has any advice to offer I would greatly appreciate it. I am not a UX designer so I don't want to overlook any obvious considerations while making this decision.

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I think the carousel hate goes a bit too far. I will not argue about the many reasons why they are bad, because they are bad. But that does not mean they are bad in all cases. As you said, Amazon (and many other large companies with huge UX research departments) use them, so the definition they're baaaaad" is at least questionable.

So the main problem with carousels is that users can not see all the content at once and sometimes miss certain information. Now if we look at your alternatives, they literally do the same thing: they hide some information that should be visible at first glance (supposedly).

This does not mean that your alternatives are bad. They just repeat the same problem, which proves that carousels are as bad as you want them to be, nothing else.

On the way to a solution

So what is to be done?

The obvious answer would be: try to put all the options on one page. You can use images, icons, cards or whatever to clearly identify the whole section in a modular way, just use a clear title and that's it.

And what if you can not fit everything on one page?

First, is that REALLY? It depends on many factors, but in my experience it's just a matter of trying out ideas and you'll find a good way to make it fit.

Otherwise. use a carousel (oh blasphemy!). However, make sure it does not autoplay, make it very clear with arrows and numbers that it's a carousel with different slides, and you can just create an initial slide that tells the user what to do. Literally. For example, "Slide this carousel to see add on options".

Either way, whichever option you choose, you have a secret weapon: user testing! This will tell you EXACTLY what to do and what to avoid.

Additional Reading

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  • Thanks this is great insight. Feb 18 at 19:18

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