Hello friends, do you ever obsess over the way things look? Maybe your website is no exception? Maybe it's just me being a designer, but you don't have to be a designer to maintain the look and feel of your slide rotator.

Typically, slide rotators look great when they first launch but as time goes by, they can start to lose their wow factor. .
After much research, it seems there are mixed opinions regarding the effectiveness of home page rotating banners, also known as carousels. If slides are poorly designed and include terrible copywriting, then click-through numbers probably aren't going to be that great. The following tips will assist you with confidently maintaining a polished banner that will look great all year round.

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Engaging an audience can be challenging when you only have a matter of seconds to get your message across. That's why, it's essential to factor in the spread of visitor demographics; there will always be discrepancies around how web-savvy your audience is. For instance, some users know how to pause a slide rotator to read its content at their own pace; however this doesn't imply that everyone who visits your website will know this. The reality is that people have short attention spans on the web so the key to effective communication is to remember the KISS acronym (keep it simple stupid). The simpler you can keep your message, the better, as it's more likely to be received by the viewer. Take a look at these examples below that explore short and sweet versus lengthy and long-winded both with the aim of promoting dresses on sale for a fashion website.

Example 1

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The slide displays a short description with a clear call to action link, providing the user with all they need to understand that a range of dresses are on sale.

Example 2

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Here, the description goes into a bit too much detail to promote the same message.

If you're reading this thinking: 'well I don't sell dresses' don't worry because we have an example for you too! Next, let's look at a service-based example that could apply to a range of corporate and small businesses.

Example 3

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Using short, succinct language, this slide promotes a free consultation by highlighting the benefits followed by a big call to action text link.

Example 4

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In this case, the title has been switched on to display the call to action text 'Book your free consultation today.' The title works well being direct and straight to the point. However, see how the slide is now displaying more body text than necessary and there is some repetition between the title and the call to action text?

Looking at all four slide examples there is a stark difference between succinct messages and information overload. If you're not sure how much is 'too much' then a great place to start is to look at what your competitors are doing and judging your own behavior as a user. What sort of language are they using for sale items? Did their slide rotator draw you in or put you off? Once you have seen what's out there, ask yourself how you can do it better and think of language that will communicate this clearly to your audience.

Image choice

The selection of slide rotator imagery and how effectively the image ties in with the text copy is crucial to engagement. A site that has no imagery but is balanced with sharp content can be forgiven, but a website displaying cheesy, irrelevant photography is a big no-no. Digital suicide is exemplified through a dental clinic, presenting their audience with a photo of a man wearing nothing but a white, cheesy grin and a fedora hat. Whether your business is professional, clinical or creative it's so important to choose imagery that reflects this.

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Aside from poor image choices and copywriting here's a list of things you should avoid:

Low resolution

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If you want to leave a lasting impression then you have to go for quality. Make sure your image quality is up to scratch.

Forgetting to remove the watermark

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Nothing says amateur like leaving a watermark across your photos! Avoid this at all costs. Think of it as leaving dummy text all over your website – you just wouldn't do it.

Colour tones that don't match the website theme

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If you want your website to have a consistent look and feel, avoid using photography that doesn't complement your website's colour palette. Clashing colours are harder on the eye and compromise user experience.

Vary the call to action

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Repeating call to actions such as 'learn more' can jeopardise engagement. Rather than repeating yourself, vary the call to action. If your first slide is promoting a product then your call to action text could be 'shop now'. If the following slide is about new stock you could say 'view new arrivals' or should you have a slide about custom solutions, invite users to 'find out more'.

Keep clipping sharp

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It may seem obvious, but to keep the rotator looking polished, don't use paint to clip out images – it won't give the professional result you are after.

Ideally, purchase an image already clipped on a transparent background, if you don't have the skills or software to give it a good haircut.

Allow space

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Unpadded text that is hard-aligned against the edge of the rotator is difficult to read and looks messy and unbalanced. To avoid this, check if the slide rotator has padding built into the text module so that your text formats nicely and doesn't run to the edge. Consider how much text can be accommodated. If the text area can only fit five lines of text, then don't try to cram in 10...

Number of slides

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In an ideal world, you don't want more than a total of five slides, otherwise viewers will lose interest. There are certainly sites out there who break this rule, however cramming more in isn't necessarily the best way to go. Use this space to promote your most important messages. The slide rotator consumes a reasonable amount of space so you want to use that space wisely to get your most important communication across. If you have something new to promote, then the most strategic move is to run that slide first in the sequence. Another hot tip is to turn off/update slides once they have served their purpose. This also helps to keep the site looking fresh.

Signing out

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The online world better watch its back because your next slide design is going to knock'em dead! If there's another topic that you would like to know more about, then don't be shy, drop us a line in the comments box below. My ultimate quest is to make the web a prettier place. First impressions are everything people so keep sitting pretty and you'll be sure to have plenty of admirers.