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Are carousels effective?

Something I have been wondering for quite a while now.

Why is it that so many websites use slideshows on their homepage? My gut feeling tells me that they are bad UX. Why, you say?

They are too random. Users while probably only be on your page for a few seconds, scanning your content. So they will see 1-2 slides of your slideshow, if you are lucky. No one is going to sit there and watch your slideshow. Would it not be more efficient to pick your one most important goal, and place that up there in a masthead image?

They stand for bad IA. It seems to me that slideshows are, like "quick links", a patch for bad architecture. You're not sure where you want your users to go, so you try to squeeze multiple options up there. Just to "make sure everyone sees everything".

They are distracting. Because they move, according to the Gestalt laws, they will dominate the view of your page. Combined with their inherent randomness, this causes people (who have a goal coming to your website) to be focussed on a random part of your slideshow which may not be what they came for.

This is ofcourse a gut feeling and I was wondering if there is any research or dissertation on this?


slide shows represents the abstract contents of a website. The original purpose of the slideshow was to show a quick look at the product/content of your website, where people could instantly knew what they are looking at. Nobody like to read lengthy paragraph of explanation on the tour of the products, in these cases slideshow is an effective tool to capture user attention on the website content and purpose.

having said that, i do agree with you on some degree, that , not every website need to put slideshow on the main page. It would be too distracting and mainly it would not have any purpose at all.

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