Carousel’s Do’s & Don’ts

Carousels allow for multiple pieces of content to occupy a single, coveted space and can be used to highlight sub-sections of your site in a dynamic looking showcase. They can use images, a small amount of text and links to highlight further information within your site.

Example carousels from the Imperial website and another

The carousel can work well for campaigns, comparing items and presenting areas within your site.

But, although they can highlight multiple areas of your site, carousel content can often be missed by your audience. Users could think the carousel items are an advert and ignore it, or they may just scroll past it or not click through to the final frame.

Carousel Do’s

  • Do use concise titles and text to describe the carousel content - this helps users to find what they are looking for efficiently and understand where they will be directed to within the site.
  • Do use clear bold images - it’s difficult to decipher small images, especially on mobile devices. The clearer the images the more likely users are to engage and understand the content.
  • Do put the most important information in the first carousel item - this is what your audience is most likely to see.
  • Do use carousels as secondary navigation and link out to sub-pages on your site.
  • Do update the carousel content regularly to keep your page fresh and users engaged.
  • Do keep an eye on performance of the carousel over time - if it doesn’t get the click through expected then you should consider removing it.

Carousel Don’ts

  • Don’t include more than six items within the carousel, as its unlikely users will engage with more than that. Limiting the number helps with discovering the content, and finding the content in the carousel again later.
  • Don’t use a carousel just to make your page dynamic - consider using a static carousel or hero image instead of a rotating one as these tend to get more click throughs.
  • Don’t use carousels as your main site navigation.
  • Don’t use auto-advance as this can negatively impact on accessibility and users prefer to have control over it.
  • Don’t use a carousel as your homepages hero section, use a single clear message that is easy for your target audience to understand.
  • Don’t use carousels to reflect internal structures or because everyone wants to be on the homepage - make sure the content is driven by the audience’s needs.

Find out how to build Carousels in T4 Site Manager.

See Nielson Norman Groups blog for more guidance on carousel usability.

If your content is image driven you may want to consider using a slideshow.