Thank you Jakob Nielsen!

I’ve been waiting for an article like this for a long time … to share with all of the clients and designers I work with who love rotating banners and accordions.

Please read this and share with everyone on your team:
Auto-Forwarding Carousels and Accordions Annoy Users and Reduce Visibility

Here’s the key excerpt:

Accordions and carousels should show a new panel only when users ask for it. Otherwise, it should stand still and let users read the information in peace, without having the rug yanked from under them. As our user said about Siemens’ big rotating box: “I didn’t have time to read it. It keeps flashing too quickly.”

Auto-forwarding causes many usability problems:

  • Moving UI elements usually reduce accessibilit , particularly for users with motor skill issues who have difficulty clicking something before it’s taken away.
  • Low-literacy users often don’t have enough time to read the information before it’s removed.
  • International users also read more slowly if your site is not in their native language, and thus won’t be able to understand a panel if it’s displayed only briefly.
  • The probability that users will spot the item they want is drastically reduced when only one thing is displayed at any given time; in the Siemens example, the discount deal is visible only 20% of the time.
  • It’s just plain annoying for users to lose control of the user interface when things move around of their own accord.

Most important, because it moves, users automatically assume that it might be an advertisement, which makes them more likely to ignore it.

I’ve already read this article 3 times, and it won’t be the last …