The Downside of Product Carousels for Accessibility

The Downside of Product Carousels for Accessibility
Product Carousels Sliders Slideshows for Ecommerce Websites
Although product carousels are common on eCommerce websites, they can pose accessibility problems.

Carousels’ accessibility ultimately depends on how they are implemented. We’ll be discussing the pros and cons and providing some tips to avoid common obstacles that could affect people with disabilities.

Are product carousels really effective in driving sales?

Carousels, also known as “sliders” and “slideshows”, are still very popular. Many designers consider carousels essential in promoting new products, creating brand stories, and encouraging customers interact with websites.

Although content carousels are visually appealing, they can also be a poor way to interact with real-life users. Erik Runyon (technical director for marketing communications at University of Notre Dame) found that clickthrough rates for carousels items fell dramatically after the first slide.

Runyon’s analysis focused on Notre Dame websites only, but many web designers and marketers have questioned carousels’ value over the past few decades. Many of the criticisms stem from common issues with implementation, which can have an impact on accessibility.

  • Carousels lose their effectiveness in driving engagement as content managers add more slides. Screen readers, software that converts text into audio or braille and allows people to read the slides without difficulty, may also find it difficult to understand.
  • Carousel images almost always contain large amounts of text. This text may be too long to include in alt text or alt tags.
  • Depending on the way images are served, carousels can consume significant bandwidth.
  • Users may find moving carousels annoying, regardless of their ability. A study by the Nielsen Norman Group showed that U.K. internet users ignore carousels that move automatically. One user reported that he didn’t have enough time to read it. It flashes too fast.”

This leads to two important questions: Are product carousels worth it? And if yes, are they accessible?

Although product carousels may not be the best tool for every job, they are often easy to use.

You might decide to try other ways to market new products or welcome people to your site, despite the disadvantages. This is generally the best and easiest approach. We wrote last year about accessible options to carousels. Most of these alternatives are much simpler to implement.

However, your website may have a valid reason to use a carousel. If you have an existing carousel that drives engagement in a significant way, it makes no sense to remove it.

You can avoid accessibility issues by designing or redesigning your carousel. This will ensure that all users have a better experience. You can make your carousel more accessible by using the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), which are the consensus standards for accessibility.

Here are some quick tips:

Make sure that your product carousel uses the appropriate markup to relay semantic data to screen readers and other assistive technology (AT). Correct markup can improve the user experience for AT users, and it can complement your site’s search engines optimization (SEO).

For more information, see Carousels & Accessibility: 7 Tips.

Accessibility is key to growing your audience.

Although eCommerce websites are legally responsible for providing accessible content, it’s not an obligation. Accessibility is an opportunity to have an enormous competitive advantage.

We wrote earlier this year about accessibility design improving key eCommerce metrics such as social media engagement and bounce rates, customer retention rates and shopping cart abandonment. Your website will work better for everyone, regardless of their ability. Also, your content will reach a wider audience if it follows WCAG.

Learn more about five most frequent eCommerce accessibility issues. Or, test your site against WCAG using our automated testing.

Next, we will discuss a the importance of high quality relevant content to improving SEO rankings. 

Lookit Services

Share This Page