Opt instead for user-initiated carousels, if any.
On the homepage above the fold, avoid carousels altogether. What I usually recommend is to either have a static background image or a slowly moving background video, especially if it is well-integrated with the text & CTA(s) above.
I wrote an article on my blog about the Pros and Cons of a Homepage Background Video.
By a ‘slowly moving background video’, I’m thinking of something like this, for example: https://whynotblue.com/
The moving water looks cool, attracts your attention for a second, then you actually focus on the headline above it.
If you are to have an automatically or manually rotating hero image carousel, this is one way to make it work:
Keep the elements on top of the image fixed (headline, subheadline, CTA) and only change the background image.
A quickly rotating image distracts attention away from the CTA button.
Here’s my research on the topic:
1. A case study by Grizzlyzoos showed that a homepage with a carousel received 2.06% clicks, while having a static image received 40.53% clicks. (source
2. In the experiment on ND.edu
‘s carousel, 84% were on stories in position 1 with the rest split fairly evenly between the other four (~4% each). So the other slides besides the first one are basically ignored.
3. More experiments were done on Notre Dame sites, with these results. Translation, people click a lot more on the first slide of the carousel than subsequent slides.
4. Auto-rotating carousels annoy users and reduce visibility (source
5. Auto-rotating carousels get ignored. (source)
6. Carousels are missed by users (source
8. In VWO’s words… ‘Don’t use image sliders’. (source
9. Chris Goward’s testing of rotating carousels. (source
10. Nobody clicks on carousels. (source
11. A static image converts much higher (source
12. Mostly the first slide is clicked. (source
13. A/B tests by ServerTastic showed that versions without sliders outperformed those with sliders by an average of 16.48% in terms of revenue per visitor. (source – the original study page isn’t available anymore)
14. By optimizing the order of the slides in the slider, Conversion Sciences was able to put together a page with a slider that outperformed any static image by 61%. (source