The early Internet was text-based and, if you weren't using it back then, you don't remember the thrill of seeing the first images posted online. Today, images are basic parts of any web page. Web designers have gotten a lot more creative with images, using layers, transparency and other effects to create beautiful layouts for their clients. There is, however, one use of images that is sometimes a great choice and sometimes a very poor one: slideshows.
Slideshows are used on portfolio sites quite a lot. One of the best places to go see them in use for yourself is on professional photography sites. These sites, in some cases, show instances where the web designers went for flash instead of substance and where the results may not be what the site owner had in mind.
At its most basic level, a slideshow seems like a good idea. The visitors to a portfolio site want to see the artist's work and, therefore, giving them an automatic way to view it seems a natural choice. There's more to it, however, and you have to keep that in mind.
When designers put up a slideshow, they force the visitors to wait through images that they may not even be interested in seeing. If you're hiring a photographer for your business portrait, for instance, you probably have absolutely no interest in their bridal photography and may end up finding a different site if you're forced to sit through a selection of those images. Conversely, if you're getting married, you probably don't want to see the photographer's photos from a local football game. Choice is important in web design.
Make sure your builders emphasize visitor choice. When visitors look at a portfolio, many of them will like to have the option to either see a slideshow or to manually enlarge images from a thumbnail gallery. Very impatient people will likely be happier to dispense with the slideshow option than with the manual gallery.
Make sure your page doesn't make visitors sit through content they don't want to see. Your page designers should be able to find a good way to offer a good balance between fancy, automatic features and manual features that offer more choice to the site visitor. Some visitors will love sitting through your slideshow, but make sure you don't drive away others who won't appreciate it at all.
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