Fundraisers: Get off your carousels!

I’m still seeing carousels on many nonprofit’s websites, even though their effectiveness has been disproven repeatedly for more than a year … even as they rose in popularity.

I’m talking about rotating feature frames on websits — carousels … AKA sliders — you know, large images dominating a homepage that automatically slide away, replaced by a new image/mission feature/event for the organization.

Like slideshows.  Only very often with key content, including links … too often the only link on the site that lets users get certain timely information.

Not long ago I asked one organization’s staff about an event, wondering why it wasn’t on their website.   “What?” came the reply:  “It’s on the homepage, right there in the banner.”

Sure enough, one of their carousel frames had a short squib on the event and a link to “find out more.”

But like most folks, I don’t read carousels much, due to the long-established phenomenon known as “banner blindness.”   Big and moving means ad and doesn’t get read.

If I did read slides, I’d have to process info and act on it quite quickly.  It’s only up there for six seconds or so.   Please don’t require my intense attention to discover your event.  That’s work.  And the more you make folks work, the less likely they are to read or react to your info.

Here are some comments on all this from a WordPress blog, a post aptly titled “Our themes don’t have sliders … because sliders suck.”    Only 1% of people actually click on a slide.  Sliders trigger banner blindness.  And they hurt your SEO, too!

Another from a design blog:  “Why automatic carousels suck and must be eliminated from your homepage.”  “Automatic motion is just plain annoying.”

You do, of course, have options:  “5 Alternatives to Using a Carousel on your Homepage.”

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