Please Put an End to Multi-page Slideshow Galleries

I’ve fallen for them, and chances are you’ve probably fallen for them, too: multi-page slideshows that promise to give you 45 pictures of something interesting only to refresh the entire page with each picture. It’s an annoying, terrible user experience put together for the purpose of maximizing ad impressions.

Advertising is important for any free information site, but at what cost? I’ve seen these idiotic slideshow tactics being pulled on a wide range of sites including CBS News and virtually every gaming site out there. It’s not a fun experience, but the voice inside us crying out for information about which celebrities have opened their own restaurants or what video game characters are the “hottest” of all time makes us click the link and fall for that slow, buggy slideshow scheme every time.

Look, I get advertising as a revenue source. At LockerGnome, we have ads up to support what we do. It’s how bills get paid and the lights stay on. No one wants to craft a slideshow for free, nor should anyone. The problem as I see it is that site designers have decided that making someone load the entire page 45 times is better than providing a single slideshow interface that switches between images with the click of a button. It’s greedy, and I hate seeing it.

What Can You Do About It?

The alternative is not viewing the content. It’s the only way to really send a message to the site owner that you don’t appreciate this sacrifice of user experience.

An unethical person would turn to ad blockers to at least keep that part of the page from hogging up bandwidth, but I know how terrible employing a tactic like that really is. Ad blockers cost me and everyone else who makes a living producing online content their livelihoods. A site that should make a certain amount of money through traffic is, instead, put into the red because its bandwidth isn’t even being paid for. So, in a sense, these slideshows hurt sites that aren’t even using them.

Let’s say you really like the content that a site puts out, but this annoying page reload is getting on your nerves. You can reach out to the site manager by way of its contact page to express your disappointment at their decision to employ multi-page slideshows to generate more revenue. Chances are, they may not really care since the cash is flowing, but if enough people complain, then there’s a good chance they’ll take it to heart. After all, the risk of losing your regular viewers is in many ways more worrying to a site manager than the loss of $0.02 per thousand views. Who clicks on ads during a slideshow, anyway?

Tip for Site Owners

Good ad placement practices means placing ads where people are more likely to find something interesting and give them a click. Slideshows are terrible places to put ads unless you slip them in between slides here and there. That puts the ad directly in the visitor’s view without reloading the entire page to do so. End your slideshow with an ad. You might be surprised at how much more money you make that way.

You may also consider leading the user to other pages of your site at the end of a slideshow. Something worded like this: “You’ve seen 25 celebrities who drive a Prius. Now see 25 celebrities who totaled their sports cars!”

Am I wrong in this? Do you agree? Please weigh in with your experiences below.

Angry Woman by Vera Kratochvil

9 comments On Please Put an End to Multi-page Slideshow Galleries

  • Matthew Arevalo

    I generally don’t visit sites that use these types of slide shows, so I have to admit it’s not a big deal to me personally. When I do come across them, I usually just leave. Not worth it to spend the time on all that clicking and such.

  • RYAN! I love that you posted this. I was JUST talking about how.. if I see this exploit used — I walk away from that site. It’s a CHEAP trick and it drives me insane. Good looking out!

  • however the alternative is loading 45 images on one page which is no walk in the park user experience either

    • There are hundreds of ways to load up a slide show without loading the entire collection of images. A small amount of thumbnails could be displayed and the full image loaded once the thumbnail is clicked, etc. Loading one image per page or 50 on one page is really lazy programming.

  • And popups harassing me about signing up for something while I’m trying to read an article 🙂

    • Oh, man… sorry. 🙂 Only happens for first-time visitors, and it improved our newsletter subscription rate dramatically.

    • Oh, man… sorry. 🙂 Only happens for first-time visitors, and it improved our newsletter subscription rate dramatically.

      • As much as I hate it (and I do) I’m betting the pagination of images is also improving performance in some marketing aspect of these websites. That’s the constant wrestling, between successful message delivery (marketing) and enjoyable user experience. The two seldom coexist.

  • Seriously, you think “An unethical person would turn to ad blockers”? Do you think it’s ethical to click on a link to read or see something only to have a whole page full of ads taking up your precious bandwidth and have to “hunt” for the subject of the link? I already see that you think it’s unethical for these slide-shows that refresh pages every time you go to the “Next” frame so more ads can be served.
    Well then, is it ethical for these ad companies to track your every move throughout your surfing and sending ads that are “relevant” to you, and even selling this information to other marketers? I call it spying, and I have anti-spy software running to keep my privacy. Gee, guess that makes me unethical…..

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