Carrousels don’t matter, because the homepage is unimportant
Everybody knows carrousels are silly. Instead of showing everything we want to show, they actually hide most of it. That’s it. End of discussion. It’s not even a discussion, because everybody knows this. And everyone who’s ever wasted their time to research this found out that, yes, people never click on items that are not shown to them. But, I don’t care about carrousels, because we usually only put them on the homepage. And to be honest, the homepage is uninteresting: it is the least interesting page of a website. And since it is the least interesting page of the site, we shouldn’t really worry about the cruft we put on it. We should focus on the pages that do make sense instead.
The only people who care about the homepage are stakeholders, marketers and designers. The rest of the world (the people who actually use our creation) uses a search engine, or a direct link from a friend, to get to the relevant content, which is usually somewhere deeper in the site. If you look at the stats of any decent website, you’ll see that most people never even see the homepage.
The homepage is mildly interesting, at most, for people who actually visit our sites. The only time I visit a homepage is either when a web worker proudly tweets about their new creation, or when I do research about the competition. Now, I don’t say the homepage doesn’t need any attention. Of course it does, just like any other page on a website. But it definitely doesn’t need the disproportional amount of attention it gets right now.
Even if you don’t agree with me that the homepage is unimportant (you will in time), you probably do understand that the homepage, in fact, is an exceptional page. There’s no focus, the grid is usually a mess. It looks different that the rest of the site. What I never understood, is that if we do a complete redesign of a site, we always start with the homepage. If you think about it, it makes much more sense to start with the pages that most people will visit, for instance the content pages of your site. When you’re done with those, you will better understand the content and the visual style of the site. This makes it easier to design an exceptional page like the homepage.
Like with every bold statement, there are exceptions. Of course there are. People actually do visit the homepage of news site (even if an RSS feed, or following a Twitter account makes more sense for keeping up to date). But I do believe these are exceptions. For the majority of sites, it is a simple fact that the majority of the visitors never get to see the homepage. And if your stats show you a different pattern, there’s either something wrong with your site, or you’re working on a single page site.