Should I use carousels?

Carousel is most of the common pattern we use in the web/ app. We used to it if we have multiple content that need to be displayed as a hero image. I believe most of us have designed this (including my self). However, this might not be the best practice since users may only read the first content, skip it or even worse it's frustrated them.

I've read a lot of articles about the use of carousels on the web. While some articles have different suggestion but I can say that overall it says the same thing. Let me quote this statement from smashing magazine. 

There are big differences between the different kinds of carousels. We find a compelling use for them by presenting extra contextual information, without forcing the user to scroll.

Don’t use a carousel just to get additional content on the screen. Think of carousels for one particular use case: providing additional content within a specific context. Use a carousel when vertical space is limited — as it is on mobile — and when the content is directly related — especially if the content isn’t useful to the user.

Don’t use a carousel if the content isn’t interesting or useful. The first slide has to sell the next slide to the user. Why would someone advance a slide to get another marketing banner unless something is in it for them? Like the rest of our content, carousels need to be engaging in order to be effective. If people aren’t interacting with your carousel, it might not be your carousel’s fault.


Don’t use a carousel if you need the user to see all of the content. Even if your carousel is effective, remember that most users aren’t going to see every slide. The first slide should always show the most important piece of content, and they should all be ordered by importance. If viewing multiple slides is important but not necessary for your content, I recommend using thumbnails as controls because users are more likely to view multiple slides.

It turns out that there isn’t one answer to this question. In certain situations — as with marketing banners — the answer might be an emphatic no. In others — as with product image galleries — the answer is a definite yes. As with any design pattern, if you find yourself asking, “Should I use a carousel?,” then there’s really only one right answer: if it’s right for your users.

take away:

  1. Use it only it provides additional content within a specific context.
  2. If you have to use it, use it if it's right for your users and use it carefully 
  3. Don't use auto rotate if it's not necessary.
  4. If you use auto rotate make sure the timing is right.
  5. If you use auto rotate, stop the carousels when users
    1. hover on the carousels
    2. click the control (next/prev)
  6. Make sure the control is obvious & easy to tap/click (use only small bullet might not be a good idea)


Further reading

  1. An Exploration Of Carousel Usage On Mobile E-Commerce Websites
  2. Homepage & Category Usability book by Baymard Institute
  3. Good carousel use,” Jeffrey Zeldman, Twitter
    Zeldman suggests to Josh Clark that carousels are best used to display linear content, like image galleries.
  4. Why Users Aren’t Clicking Your Home Page Carousel,” UX Movement
    UX Movement has some suggestions for making your home page carousels more effective.
  5. on carousels
  6. Designing Effective Carousels: Create a Fanciful Amusement, Not a House of Horrors


Designbadycarousel, web, ux, uiComment