What Makes a Good Carousel?

Modified on Wed, 21 Jun 2023 at 01:55 PM

Here is the deadpan answer, the best carousel you can create is not to create a carousel at all. User Experience research shows that users do not hang around for carousels to rotate information across their screens. They don't click on them either. Here are some quotes and links to articles from leading researchers and designers. Their findings are based on research and user metrics.

You can only create one carousel on a single cover page.

  1. The Neilson group, THE user experience research team says that Carousels Annoy users:

  2. "We have tested rotating offers many times and have found it to be a poor way of presenting home page content." - WiderFunnel

  3. "Whilst running user testing at all stages of design and worryingly so on live sites it’s become ever so apparent that the majority of users for the following reasons miss or don’t act upon the messages included as carousels." - Adam Fellows

  4. "Slideshow. Slider. Carousel. Whatever you call them, they’re ubiquitous on organizational home pages across the web. And almost all of them are inaccessible." - SitePoint

Carousels, as mentioned in point 4 are also not good for those with disabilities trying to access your site. In fact, they are terrible for handicap accessibility.


Not convinced? As you can imagine, there are good carousels and bad carousels. Here are some rules to live by.

  1. Carousel Images should be simple and clear. Right now we noticed that most libraries are using carousels with images that look like this one:
    1. There is WAY too much information on this carousel slide, a lot of work has been put into something no one has time to read. This will cause frustration on the user's part and they will not pay attention to this or any more slides.

    2. Secondly, vital information about something should never be on an image. Screen readers that people with disabilities use to read text off of a screen cannot read text on an image. These types of carousel alienate disadvantaged visitors.

    3. Remember, this is a slide that should be a generic image with little or not text on the image.

  2. Carousel images should be generic background images WITH LITTLE OR NO TEXT on them. The title and description of the carousel slide should be used for brief information about the slide. Screen readers WILL be able to read the text that gets overlayed on top of the slide. Below is an example of a well-constructed slide.

    The slide is a generic background that says 'lunch' but the overlayed text provides a brief description concerning what the slide is about. Of course, the slide will link to a page with all of the 'Lunch with the Librarian' event details. 

From a user experience perspective, try to use little or no carousels on your site. People just don't use them. However, when creating carousels, be creative with the background, keep the descriptions short, and link to a detail page to get the user to the detailed information quickly.

Was this article helpful?

That’s Great!

Thank you for your feedback

Sorry! We couldn't be helpful

Thank you for your feedback

Let us know how can we improve this article!

Select atleast one of the reasons
CAPTCHA verification is required.

Feedback sent

We appreciate your effort and will try to fix the article