by Ramona Nemeth-Csoka on February 11, 2019

How to Create Beautiful Responsive Image Slider?

Image slider

Using an Image slider is one of the most popular ways to display multiple images on your website. These galleries are so popular it’s hard to find a WordPress site where isn’t some kind of image carousel. Because of this, there are many free slider plugins available for creating an image slider.

What is an image slider in WordPress?

Image sliders are a nice and convenient way to display many images on your WordPress site. Beautiful images, which are relevant to your site can draw more visitors to your site. Creating an image slider in WordPress is quite an easy task, you just need a good slider plugin.

Image Slider in Smart Slider 3
Image Slider in Smart Slider 3

How to create a responsive image slider?

First, you need to find a good slider plugin. This is probably the hardest step here as you’ll need a plugin, which is easy to use. Your slider plugin also needs to have all features you need. Want to add captions to your image slides? The plugin you pick needs to be able to do that. Do you have coding knowledge? If not, you should look for a plugin where you can build everything visually. To save you from having to look for slider plugins, let me suggest giving Smart Slider 3 a try.

Smart Slider 3 Icon
Bring Your Ideas to Life
Powerful. Visual. Intuitive. Smart Slider 3 is the most advanced slider and block creation tool for WordPress and Joomla.

What is Smart Slider 3?

It’s a free slider plugin which you can use to create beautiful sliders. The slider is cross browser, which means desktop browsers are supported. And, of course, the sliders will look great on mobile devices.

Once you have a good image slider plugin at your disposal, you’ve done the hardest part. Now all you need is a set of beautiful images and effective captions. Probably you already have your images ready. If you don’t have images yet, you can get high quality, royalty free images from the following sources: Unsplash, Pixabay, Pexels. Be sure to use properly sized, quality images. Your visitors won’t like blurry or badly cropped images. You should also forget about using images which have heavy watermark.

Free Caption Slider
Free Caption Slider

Why should you choose Smart Slider 3 as your image slider solution?

Smart Slider 3 is a premium-like slider plugin, which has an excellent free version. This free version lets you create beautiful image sliders, even with thumbnail images. The big and small images will look nice on every device, which is essential for every website. Smart Slider 3 perfectly integrates with your WordPress site. The interface where you create your sliders is modern and clean. The slider allows you to create unlimited photo sliders and add unlimited images to each slider. You can choose the photos from the WordPress Media Library directly. Then you can set up the slider the way you want it to.

What’s even more, Smart Slider 3 cares about your SEO as well. You can enter the alt description to each added image. Specify the alt at the WordPress media library and Smart Slider loads it when you select the image. Search engines, like Google can easily pick up this alt text. Any other textual content you put on the slider is also crawlable for search engines.

Free Thumbnail Slider
Free Thumbnail Slider

Why should you use thumbnails for navigation?

When an image slider has a lot of photos, it’s hard to reach the desired image fast. While arrow navigation is a common feature for image sliders, it’s not so convenient to reach the last image. The problem with arrows is that the visitor has no idea how many images there are for them to see. Thumbnails do this job nicely and easily while improving the slider’s overall look.

Autoplaying Thumbnail Slider
Autoplaying Thumbnail Slider

Thumbnails are great for navigation. They make it easy for the visitor to look through the available photos. (Without having to check the images one by one.) Hence they can quickly reach the image they would like to see in the gallery. You can customize the thumbnails to match your site’s layout. By default, the slide background image is used at the thumbnail, but you can upload a custom image.

Boost your image slider with lightbox

You don’t always have enough space on your site to create a large slider. So not every image can show up in it’s full size, the way it could be enjoyed the most. This means you need to make compromises when it comes to your slider size. But you want to allow your visitors to see the large images so you are looking for a lightbox.

The lightbox allows the visitor to click on the image and view it in a larger size. Smart Slider 3 Pro makes it easy to add lightbox, it just takes a couple of clicks. The lightbox you create can show more than just one image, it can be an image gallery as well. You are able to select many images and even switch them without user action. The lightbox supports adding videos from YouTube, Vimeo or your on site as well. You can also create a lightbox slider from your slider background images.

Lightbox with Caption Slider
Lightbox with Caption Slider

Engage your visitors with a wonderful image carousel

Showing one large image in the slider is good for most cases. But from time to time this kind of simple image slideshow isn’t enough to meet your needs. Smart Slider 3 won’t take away your chance to make your image slider original. It offers not only one, but two options to show more slides at a time. Both the Showcase and the Carousel sliders are responsive and look great on any device. You can even make them full width to fill the entire browser width.

Carousel with Lightbox
Carousel with Lightbox

Either the Showcase or the Carousel slider is great to show more images to the visitor. Both allow the visitor to see every image fast. The main difference between these sliders is their responsiveness. When you view a Showcase gallery on a smaller device, you see the same amount of slides, just smaller while a Carousel shows less images without changing their size. Another difference is that Carousel switches all of the visible slides at once. Hence, visitors can view the pictures quicker.

Spectacular image slideshow effects

There are many ways to make your simple image slider more interesting. For instance, you can add eye-catching image effects to your slider. These effects will help catch the visitor’s attention and make them spend more time viewing your slider. Smart Slider 3 has a great number of effects you can choose from. Some effects are available in the free version of Smart Slider 3, but some are premium features. So, what are the best and most popular effects you can use? Let’s check them out!

Iceland sample slider
Iceland sample slider

Background animations

One of the best ways to enhance your image slider is to select a nice looking background animation. The background animation occurs on the slides while they’re changing. For example, when you go from slide one to slide two. Using Background animations you can enhance your slider but let the visitor’s focus on the actual image. Smart Slider 3 has several predefined background animations to choose from. There’s two main categories, vertical and horizontal. Each contains a large list of possible effects, including the new slices animation.

Fullsize Slider
Fullsize Slider

Ken Burns Effect

If you choose Smart Slider 3 as your image slider plugin, background animation won’t be the only way to boost your slider. The ever popular Ken Burns Effect is available in Smart Slider 3. If you haven’t heard the name of the effect yet, let me introduce it to you in a few words. Ken Burns slider effect is an astonishing panning and zooming effect. This simple but elegant effect adds a nice touch to your slider background images immediately.

Ligthbox Slider
Ligthbox Slider

Parallax Slider Effect

The Parallax Slider Effect creates the illusion of depth inside your image slider. The effect activates when visitors start scrolling down on the website. The content will move regularly, but the slide background will stay a little bit behind. The result is astonishing and people will love the result. The best part is how easy it is to add the parallax effect to your images with Smart Slider 3.

Parallax Slider
Parallax Slider

Moreover, you can use the parallax effect on layers as well. This lets you jump on the creative wagon and create spectacular effects. You can create image or textual layers, add the parallax effect and get a bunch of amazed visitors.

Blur Slider
Blur Slider

Create an image slider quickly and easily

Selecting the images from the WordPress Media Library is fairly easy and it’s the common approach to add images to the sliders. Although it might not be so convenient if you have many photos. If you have lots of images, you will need to select the images one by one inside your Media Library. Luckily, Smart Slider 3 has a great feature called dynamic slide generator. This feature can create slides dynamically from various sources. The most popular source is the WordPress post, but the RSS and social generators are popular as well.

A beautiful example of a WordPress Post generator
A beautiful example of a WordPress Post generator

There’s an “Images from folder” generator, which allows you to select a folder on your site. This folder has the images you want to create a slider from. Apart from selecting the image folder, the process is totally automatic. The slider picks up the images without you having to change anything. Even if you add new images later, or remove old ones, they’ll show up in the slider. After a given time you can change, the slider looks for new images in the folder to display them.

Simple dynamic image slider
Simple dynamic image slider

There are many other dynamic slide generators available. For example, you can create a slider from your Flickr or Instagram images. Just set up the dynamic slide once. After that, the slider will continue fetching the new images all by itself.

Flickr generator, which creates slider from your Flick images
Flickr generator, which creates slider from your Flick images

Ramona Nemeth-Csoka

About Author

I’m Ramona Nemeth-Csoka and I’m a member of Nextend‘s awesome support team. You’ve probably chat with me if you’ve submit a support ticket. When I’m not answering support emails I read a book or go cycling. I enjoy writing as well, both for our blog and for my private projects.