Slider can be an advantage or a disadvantage for your site. Thus it is very important to consider all pros and cons before using a slider. To find the best slider plugin for your site you can download a few sliders from WordPress site or to check out their demos. Here I will suggest you a bulleted checklist, which should be useful when you are testing various slider plugins. Reading through the list and individual testing will help you to find the best fit for your case.
- Define Your Purpose
Choose what will be the main purpose of the slider: displaying images, displaying text, linking the homepage to other pages and etc. At this step you should decide on 5 Ws- Who, What, Where, When/How and Why.
This suggests you should answer the following questions:
- Who will be your main audience ( age group, interests, preferences )?
- What type of content you want to display (images, text or combination of these two)?
- Where do you want to have the slider (homepage, specific pages or within the post)?
- When and How to make the provided content interactive (using images, transition effects and etc.)?
- Why is it important to use slider instead of standard images/text?
- Use Quality Images
The images used as slides should have high quality. This is important, since the site visitors might use devices with different dimensions and you want them to have great user experience. If the slider comes as a part of your responsive WordPress theme, you will not have issues with the display. This is not true with all wordpress slider plugins. Some sliders are not responsive or require images to have specific pre-defined dimensions. So you should be attentive with this sort of details. It is always good to choose a plugin which is responsive and has some options of automatic image resizing when viewing the slider or other devices (e.g. you can use this WordPress Slider PLugin).
- Choose the Slider Heigh
Carefully choose the height of the slider. If you have other important information on your homepage or the pages where you have the slider, you better make sure the slider doesn’t take the entire space. Slider should serve as an addition to the main content. In any case avoid slider domination if you want your site to look more professional. There are different approximations on how much space the slider should take, but it should be somewhere between 350 and 500.
- Keep It Simple
As stated by Steve Jobs : “Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains”. The slider should tell a story, but you should keep it simple. Try not to include too much of text, layers and transition effects. The text should be as long as it is required for an average reader to read within 10-15 seconds.
- Use Lazy Load
The presence of the slider makes the page to load a little bit slower than other standard pages. And this is normal. But there is a way to minimize the issue- use lazy load. This can come as an option within the settings of your slider plugin or you might be required to edit the code of the slider. The Lazy Load is a technique which loads the first few images within the slider and displays some images first and then continues loading the rest while the user navigates through the slides.
- Add Layers
It is a good idea to use layers, if your slider plugin gives you the opportunity. The layers come in various forms- image, social media/social sharing buttons, text and video. Try including no more than 2 types of layers per slider, so that you will not overwhelm your site visitors with too much of information at once. Remember the best way to display large piece of information combined with an image is infographic and not slider. Make sure that the layers do not take too much of space and do not cover important information. The transition effects are no less important here. Choose one or two effects which will add the layers over the main slides.
- Look for Detailed Documentation
Whenever you are choosing a slider make sure it comes with a detailed user guide. The documentation should include details on how to activate the features of the slider, how to add layers, how to add images and etc. The lack of documentation and too many options will increase the time spent on creating a slider. In addition to standard textual user guides, you can also check out YouTube channel of the developer team for video manuals.
Choosing a slider plugin, you should not only look for a list of impressive features, but first check out what features you should be looking for and what are the most important functions for a slider.