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Web Design \ DEC 19th 2014

Slideshow Galleries – When, How and Why You Should Use Them

Slideshow galleries are one of the most popular visual display modes in web design today. You may not always realize it but you probably encounter sliders several times during your daily online routine. So what makes these galleries so trendy and loved?

Introduction to Slideshow Galleries

First of all, let’s clarify what exactly slideshow galleries are. This dynamic unit displays multiple pieces of content (usually images) on one page, alternating between them in a way that highlights one image at a time. The name “slideshow” indicates the original mode of these galleries, in which image slides would horizontally slide in and out of the screen. Nowadays slideshow galleries have various styles and functions and are generally much more creative.
Still not sure what we are talking about? Here is an example:

One reason for the ongoing popularity of sliders is the lively feel they generate through the motion of the slides on the screen. This sense of action keeps site visitors engaged and alert. In addition, sliders allow web designers to display more than one image on what is usually important design “real estate” – instead of reserving the best spot on the page for just one image, why not share it between several great visuals? In short, slideshow galleries show versatility in a dynamic and inviting way.

Not everyone agrees with this evaluation, though. The anti-sliders camp argues that slideshow galleries may confuse the site’s hierarchical layout and lead viewers out of focus. Too often designers also make the mistake of uploading too many files to the slider gallery, slowing down the loading time and overall harming the user experience.

At the bottom line there is also the question of personal taste. Some people absolutely love the effect of slideshows on a web page while others are not so thrilled with it. At Wix, we believe that slideshow galleries can be a real visual treat on your website if you use them properly. If you think slideshows are perfect for your website, let’s continue with a few expert tips for designing beautiful slideshow galleries.

Slideshow Gallery Do’s:

  • Choose the right slideshow gallery for your site:
    As we mentioned earlier, there are many slider styles available and you want to go with the one that best suits your website design. In the Wix editor, you will find several options for slider galleries: Slideshow, Thumbnails, Strip Slideshow, Stripshowcase, Impress, Slider, 3D slideshow and 3D carousel. Each has its own advantages and strengths. Before you decide, give them a test drive.

Choose the right slideshow gallery for your site

  • Tell a story with sliders:
    Instead of randomly displaying one image after the other, use the dynamic flow of the slider gallery to convey an integrated message about your company or product. You can add short texts into the visuals to make it coherent, and don’t make it too long!

Tell a story with sliders

  • Give a slider tour of your brand:
    Because slideshows have multiple images in them you can use them to depict a process that is at the heart of your business or organization. For instance, a hotel website could have a visual tour of the facilities, while a pastries website can display the different stages of the baking.

Give a slider tour of your brand

  • Slider highlights:
    Keep the content of your slider gallery fresh by frequently updating the visuals you show there with the latest news and updates. For instance, if you’re having a holiday sale on your online store, use the slideshow gallery to display all those products that are available on discount. Or if you own a venue for live events, use the slider to advertise upcoming shows.

Slider highlights

  • Clear navigation:
    Weather you decide you want your slideshow gallery to work manually and move according to the visitors’ preference or automatic,  you have to use navigation icons and buttons that are clearly visible and convenient to use. Give your visitors the power to choose what they want to focus on.

Clear navigation

  • Slow transition:
    If you prefer the automatic browsing from one slide to another, make sure you give your visitors enough time to take in the content. Images that rapidly fly across the screen are not only useless to your purposes as website owner, they are also likely to annoy your visitors.

Slow transition

Slideshow Dont’s

  • Don’t neglect the rest of the site:
    Too often we come across websites that have amazing slideshow galleries with killer images, but everything surrounding the slider is just not right. Don’t forget that your website is a complete structure and that the various elements of it need to be individually great but, more importantly, they need to come together into one beautiful design.
  • Don’t overload the gallery:
    Too many images in one gallery will both distract your site visitors’ attention and will create slow down the loading and browsing significantly. 3-5 slides is usually the most effective size.

Don’t overload the slider

  • Don’t use more than one slideshow gallery per page:
    It’s distracting, it’s confusing, it’s a design fail if there ever was one (with the exception of long scrolling websites, but that’s for a different blog post).
  • Don’t add animations:
    If you have a slider gallery on a page, try to avoid adding animations to that page. You already have the motion of the slider taking place, so adding more to that will just be too messy.

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