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Landing pages are arguably among the most important parts of your website because if they aren’t compelling enough, people will just click to other places on the Internet rather than seeing what your particular page offers. Put simply, good landing pages should feature characteristics that grab interest. Maybe that means listing the logos of big-name clients on your roster or featuring a call to action that speaks to consumers’ most pressing needs.

Besides considering the content of landing pages, however, it’s also necessary to think about how they function. One of the major questions you’ll likely answer is whether it’s best to have a static landing page or one that displays several images in a slideshow format. It’s not always easy to decide, but the information below might shift your preference toward using a slideshow.

Slideshows Work Well to Give a “Wow!” Effect

Maybe you’re designing a website with pictures featuring awe-inspiring scenery. In that case, a slideshow could be a useful tool that draws people into the rest of your content. Consider building a slideshow that takes up most or all of the screen in a horizontal orientation. Take a look below at the landing page slideshow for Patagonia, an outdoor clothing and gear company:

patagonia-min

The top and bottom bars are static, while the center image rotates to show several versions. Viewers can click the circles in the bottom left corner to move through the images at a chosen speed, but this slideshow plays automatically otherwise. Also, when a person clicks the camera icon in the bottom right, photo accreditation appears. That tactic is a particularly clever one because it gives credit where it’s due, without being intrusive and distracting people from the glorious images.

Slideshows Make Media Manageable

You’ll likely have instances where you want to display a lot of media on the landing page, but only if it’s possible to do that without being overwhelming. Consider having two slideshows on the landing page that change in sync.

The website for Gretsch Guitars & Basses succeeds in showing how visually appealing the company’s musical instruments are, plus how sweet they sound:

gretsch-min

The top bar stays constant as the other parts move together, so users can easily navigate to the website’s main sections. The center slideshow shows the brand’s most recent and sought-after instruments, and the bottom slideshow scrolls through several videos and other interactive links demonstrating the characteristics that make these instruments sound so special.

Also, when you put your cursor over any of the center slideshow images, arrows appear on either side of the picture. They allow you to click through the slideshow faster if desired, although it plays automatically if left alone.

Slideshows Help You Generate Interest

As mentioned earlier, good landing pages must pull people in and make them want to know more. Slideshows could help you do that by featuring upcoming events.

Some businesses, such as performance venues, have lists of upcoming events that expand almost every day because the establishments are in great demand. When you want to convey the breadth and depth of something, slideshows are superb. Take a look at how The Southern Café & Music Hall, a venue in Charlottesville, VA, uses both image and text-based slides:

southern cafe-min

The “just announced” text on the black top bar changes every few seconds to reflect the most recent shows added to the venue’s calendar. At the same time, the image and text in the center of the page shifts to show some of the hottest upcoming events. Whether people want more information about a show or decide to take action by purchasing tickets, the respective links are easily accessible.

It’s also useful to note how the upper black bar features social media logo buttons and a search box. Concerts quickly generate buzz when hundreds of thousands of people in a community start posting about them on social media. This slideshow facilitates that type of promotional gesture. Furthermore, the search box is helpful in case someone heard about an upcoming show at the venue in passing, but they don’t remember the event’s full or official name.

Slideshows Encourage Sales

If you’re building or managing a website with an extensive inventory, slideshows are especially effective for letting current or prospective customers know what’s in stock so they can decide whether to continue browsing. Let’s analyze the advantages of the landing page for CJ Pony Parts, a car parts and accessories website:

cj pony-min

The central frame rotates through several images, and it lets shoppers know about new products or special offers. All the images stimulate interest and make people curious about what’s available.

The arrows on either side of the slideshow images allow people to control the speed at which the pictures change, but otherwise, images automatically shift from one to the next every few seconds. The timing allows people to read all or most of each image, but it isn’t so slow they become bored.

As the slideshow changes, the bar underneath that shows the shop’s top-selling brands stays constant. This section, along with the black bar above the slideshow that lists some leading car manufacturers, gives shoppers an idea of if this website has the parts needed to revamp their rides.

Slideshows Provide Enticing Overviews

When dealing with a website that covers an extensive topic, it’s often hard to figure out how to organize the information so it’s user-friendly and simple to digest. A website promoting Philadelphia tourism utilizes a slideshow to reveal top attractions to prospective tourists, without making them lose their wanderlust due to wavering attention:

phiadelphia-min

Slideshows Explain Organizations’ Purposes

Ask someone, “So, what does your organization do?” and you’ll likely get a very lengthy answer. That’s because it’s often impossible to discuss all the areas of focus within a few short sentences. However, it’s easy to use a slideshow to help website visitors understand what an organization is about. Look at this slideshow for Open Society Foundations:

open society foundations-min

Each slide describes a cause or subject associated with the organization, from women’s rights to drug policy reform. Supplementary links invite those interested to instantly find out more about topics they want. Furthermore, after someone clicks the “reveal image” link on the bottom right, they’ll see a caption for the respective photograph, including attribution. Although the slideshow plays automatically, users can go faster through the images by clicking on the squares on the bottom right.

Although the images change every few seconds, the top portion of the website, which includes the drop-down menus and social media sharing buttons, stays constant. That design choice helps users click to various sections without getting lost.

Finally, look at how the image expands beyond the slideshow frame. That element creates a panoramic effect, which captures attention.

What’s the Conclusion?

Ultimately, slideshows are a great aspect of beautiful landing pages, as long as they’re used appropriately. For best results, don’t include too many images in each slideshow, or you’ll risk making people feel flustered. Also, pay close attention to the slideshow’s pacing. If the images switch too fast or too slow, viewers might become frazzled or get bored. Buttons to pause or fast-forward the image progression help customize the viewing experience.

Also, a couple of examples above creatively gave image attribution without being intrusive. If you don’t take a similar approach to those examples, at least have another section on your website where people can go to find out which photographer shot each slideshow image.

Strive to pay close attention to user experience first and foremost when creating a slideshow. If slideshow images don’t enhance the website, do without them.

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Posted by Lexie Lu

Lexie Lu is a designer and writer. She loves researching trends in the web and graphic design industry. She writes weekly on Design Roast and can be followed on Twitter @lexieludesigner.

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