Black Friday Super Sale! 🔥 Enjoy a jaw-dropping discount of up to 50% OFF on all Smart Slider plans. Hurry, before the offer ends on November 29th!

Buy Now

All You Need To Know About Carousel Slider Type

Bernadett Toth
Bernadett Toth
December 13, 2018
WordPress carousel slider

Though hotly contested by many web designers in the past, many websites feature carousels or sliders in their design. A WordPress carousel slider is essentially a filmstrip of several images you can scroll through. Websites make use of this element because it allows multiple pieces of content to occupy a single space.

What is a WordPress Carousel?

Many people confuse the words “carousel” and “slider” because they both display images in a slideshow format while offering some form of control either through arrows or thumbnail navigation. However, they differ in some aspects. When using sliders you can see only one slide but with carousels you can show more slides next to each other at the same time.

The Best Uses for WordPress Carousels

Carousels find their greatest use in websites that rely heavily on visuals, such as ecommerce, news and photography websites. In general, use WordPress carousels to:

  • Save time, space and clicks
  • Make messaging clear
  • Organize a bulk of related content on a website

Many WordPress carousels offer a number of bells and whistles to customize according to your preferences. Make sure to follow these best practices so that you’re not tempted to let shiny objects get in the way of usability.

1. WooCommerce product Carousel

WordPress carousels are useful when there is a need to compare things, such as products or offers. For example, WooCommerce sites incorporate carousels in the recommendation section of a product page, so that users are shown a selection of related products without having to leave the page. Product carousel lets you alter the way your product is displayed to the user.

Product carousel
Product carousel

Carousels can also be incorporated in showing off detailed product shots. Doing so improves usability by providing shoppers with access to additional perspective shots to help make a purchasing decision.

category carousel
Category carousel

2. Testimonial Carousel

Some websites even have testimonial carousels that act as social proof. A testimonial carousel shows the testimonials, reviews, and feedbacks from a customer in a beautiful, modern and responsive way.

testimonial carousel
Testimonial carousel

3. Logo Carousel

It is very trending now to create a logo carousel. With this carousel type you can show your sponsors, partners or clients.

Logo carousel
Logo carousel

4. Post Carousel

Blogs with several visual content assets, also use sliders to show off featured or new post. This is the best, if your carousel refreshes automatically if you upload a new post.

Post carousel
Post carousel

5. Event Carousel

If your site focuses on events, carousel can be a good way to feature them. This WordPress carousel can draw the visitors’ attention to your event. And if you put a button on your carousel, you can take the reader to an action, for example book the event.

How to Setup an Image Carousel for WordPress

There are several plugins you can use to set up an image carousel for WordPress, but one of the best plugins to use is Smart Slider 3 Pro.

Apart from allowing you to create sliders, it also has tools that allow you to create slides for Vimeo and YouTube. As an added bonus, you can use it to create slides from WordPress posts. In general, it provides a number of customization options to achieve your desired look and feel without sacrificing the user experience or technical necessities for SEO.

Installation and basic configuration of the Smart Slider 3 plugin into your WordPress website after purchasing or downloading takes less than 2 minutes. There are three ways to setup the plugin.

Most important settings of a Carousel

Slider size: This is the base size of your carousel, but the responsive mode will define how big your slider will be on your site.
Slide size: The width and height of the slides within the slider. This is a fixed size until you resize your slider to a lower size than the size of your slide.
Maximum pane width: This value defines the maximum width of how far your slides can go within the slider.
Minimum slide distance: You can set here the minimum gap between the slides. This value is calculated from the difference between the slider size and the visible slides, the rest place is the slide distance, and you can set a minimum slide distance which always should be there.
Single switch: The animation will change only one slide, not the entire pane. You can use this option to avoid the empty spaces in the last pane of your carousel slider.

The new way to build a Slider
Next generation visual editor, customizable animations & effects, and access to hundreads of premade templates.
Get Started
Smart Slider 3 - The new way to build a Slider

Create a dynamic carousel

If you have an e-Commerce website, dynamic WordPress carousels is the best what you can choose to feature your products. Smart Slider 3 Pro has a WooCommerce generator, so you can create and dynamically change content which can display the products by a filter. For example you can create a carousel slider where you can put your featured products, and if you upload a new one, then your slider will automatically change.

dynamic product carousel
Dynamic product carousel

But there are many options to create dynamic sliders, you can create from your post or articles, or from Twitter, Facebook and a lot of other sources.

Dynamic post carousel
Dynamic post carousel

Here’s how it all comes together

A general principle of good design is to let the users be in control. Because of this, another best practice when it comes to WordPress carousels is not to put slides on autoplay.

There are two ways to control sliders:

  • Arrows that advance to the next slide: Can be placed on the slide, either above or below them.
  • Buttons or dot navigation: Hollow circles that appear filled in reference to the current slide. This design scheme indicates how many slides there are and allows people to move to the slide they want, when they want. Make sure to use it only if you have more than two slides in your slider.

As a matter of good user experience design, make sure that your WordPress carousel is setup to let the user know or get an idea of how many slides are on display, and keep the number of slides to a minimum.

Within the carousel, keep images crisp and text short and simple. The clearer the text and images, the more likely users are to engage and understand the intended points. When designing slide content, make links and buttons large enough to easily click (even on mobile). Speaking of mobile, 56% of website traffic comes from mobile, so your website, including your WordPress carousel, must incorporate responsive design.

The Controversy Around WordPress Carousels

Many web designers have been outspoken about the use of carousels (and sliders in general), calling out specific elements that they think cause problems either technical or relating to usability. And since there’s nothing more enjoyable than playing the devil’s advocate, we’ve already debunked a lot of the “research” behind why many web designers hate sliders and carousels.

Why to Setup a WordPress Carousel

Though not without their critics, the benefits of using a WordPress carousel far outweigh any potential issues they may cause. Furthermore, most web designers criticize negative aspects of sliders that are no longer relevant, thanks to a multitude of customization options and technical optimizations available with today’s best WordPress carousel plugins.

So with a carousel you can draw your visitors’ attention to the products or the elements of your carousel, and in that you can summarize the important data. And with a button you can let the visitor click on, and navigate to another page on your site. In a carousel the user can see more slides than in a traditional simple slider, so you can share more information with your visitors.

Bernadett Toth

About Author

I’m Bernadett Toth and I’m a member of Nextend‘s support team. I have two dogs, in my free time I teaching them. Besides that I often ride a bike, watching movies or reading.