Designing Ecommerce Websites – free course

Don’t hide information in carousels

Carousels are a common feature of ecommerce websites and there are some out there who will seek to tell you that they are a terrible idea. I'm not one of those people: they can be a good idea, but only if used correctly. Cramming them with too much information and copy is the wrong approach.

The best way to think of carousels is like mini videos. They should auto-play through the slides because users tend not to click themselves and the content just won't be seen. Think about how the content works together to show what you offer. If you're selling something that isn't easily explained in one image, then a few can combine to show things more clearly. A service that offers lots of different places for people to stay is better shown in a few images rather than a single one.

What you shouldn't do is have your carousel populated with slides containing lots of text or offers that compete with each other. I've seen this happen a lot on department store sites where they want to push a multitude of sales and offers. An excess of information can leave users paralysed by choice and the clicks on that third or fourth slide are going to be tiny. As for a number of slides, four is probably enough—any more and they're going to be missed as users scroll past.

A couple more tips here

A clear button to start shopping

Spell out how you are different

Get loads more in the book

Designing Ecommerce Websites book cover