There’s not much I hate more than when web designers and companies utilize tactics that are solely for their benefit, not for the users’. Content galleries are one of these things. I can almost guarantee that no user said, “You know what would be awesome? Having to view this list in a format that requires me to click next after every item, with ads in between. That would be GREAT.”
Many websites use content galleries to increase page views for their site, for both traffic benefits and to beef up their metrics for advertisers. While content galleries do increase page views, this is a fluff metric: of course the page views would increase. You are forcing users to click “next” to view items in your gallery.
Visual Revenue did a study on content galleries, and found that while these spawns of satan do increase page views (duh), they don’t increase time spent on the website, proving that users hate them as much as I do.
As you can see from the above graph, even though galleries trump the other two metrics in page views, that actual articles spent on news articles is almost TRIPLE the time spent on content galleries.
People Don’t Have Time
To use content galleries is to disrespect people’s time. And not just any people; people that actually want to read content on your website. I read/scan probably 100 pieces of content online per day. You really think I have time (or that I want to) take the time to scan through 12 slides of information? There’s very few topics that I am willing to do that for, and readers are the same.
If a website took the time to write an article, why wouldn’t they do everything they could to make sure as many people read it as possible? This can be better ensured by putting information in list or news article format, rather than a gallery.
People Hate Ads
If your gallery says 15 slides, I think I’m getting 15 slides of information. If more than one slide is an ad, then I am starting to lose trust in your website. It doesn’t matter that the title says “10 Things…” I am taking the number of slides at face value. It’s already hard enough to bear through the act of clicking through a gallery, but then you are going to subject me to ads?
How much worse could it get?
Oh, I know how much worse it could get. I am trying to navigate a content gallery via my smartphone or tablet. Do you know how impossible that is? It doesn’t matter if I’m on an iPhone, an iPad, or a Samsung Galaxy S4. The gallery hell is all the same: either it doesn’t work at all, the slides don’t optimize for my screen, OR I constantly have to use my thumb or pointer finger to swipe the slides. Finger use is cut dramatically when I get to read simple text or a list. As someone who has aching wrists and fingers from all the internet I do, this is a big deal.
When it comes down to it, do your target audience a favor and cut down (or out) the content galleries. No one likes them, they are a user experience nightmare, and if you are solely implementing them to increase page views, then you have a lot of other problems maybe you should address first.
Last two images made via memegenerator.net