Focus and Delivery: Using your Banner Slider Effectively

There should not be anything on your website that is not there for a purpose. The fact that a theme gives you a slider or the fact that you can add a slider plugin is not good enough reason to have one. If you just throw in a bunch of images, it’s just noise on your site. Take some time to consider what message(s) you want the slider to deliver and how images will communicate. Let’s take the slider on my site as an example. I have tried a number of iterations, each better than the previous, but none of them really accomplishing my goal to my satisfaction.

What Should My Focus Be?

The topic of this site, web development, is especially difficult to communicate in a slider for several reasons.

First, there is nothing more boring than watching someone else type on a computer or make a phone call or have a meeting. And, that’s what I do. Photos of me doing any of those things only gives a very broad idea that I … well, work at a computer, make phone calls and have meetings. My specific product / service is not specified by images of those activities.

Second, screenshots of websites I have worked on can be very misleading because I don’t do the graphic design … and that’s what the screenshots would show … someone else’s work! But, even if I did post screenshots of sites I’ve worked on, those images only represent the site on the day the screenshot was taken. Most of my development projects provide website owners the technology and training to make content and other changes. Sometimes those changes are great and sometimes they are not so great. But, they still aren’t my work.

So, I decided to use my slider to focus on the fact that I work with small business and the kind of decisions that small businesses should make about their websites. But, that is problematic too! If I show a photo of a small business person, how do I make that photo deliver my messages?

How Do I Make Photos Deliver My Message?

If I choose a slider that has a caption function, I have two tools that support each other to deliver my message. A photo on its own will mean different things to different people. But people are more likely to read text if it’s accompanied by an image. Text clarifies the meaning of the photo.

Some basic principles:

  1. A slider should not be a barrier to seeing the rest of the page, so, I need to choose an image that will allow cropping to the space I want to use. My slider is 400px tall, which is on the tallish side for viewers to notice the rest of the content on the home page.
  2. The photos and text need to work together in yet another way. If there will be text with the photos, the text should not cover the main part of the image. That means that either all the images need to have the most important part on the same side, or the captions need to be able to move around the image.

If you are interested in more on this topic, let me know by adding a comment below!

 

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