The web has always been open, free of rules and boundaries - that’s what makes it great. We have the ability to create whatever we like, with no law telling us that we can’t do it. I mean, obviously there some limits to what we can publish, and laws that prevent us from sharing illegal content. But in terms of the way we build and the way we design, there definitely has never been an ‘oracle’ a single source or checklist that we can tick to make sure that we’re doing it right.
Best practises are, and always will be in place for us to ensure we’re building robust, accessible websites. But still, if you don’t want to adhere to those you don’t have to. Total freedom.
Earlier this week I noticed a site that was getting a lot of coverage; it was called ‘Should I use a Carousel?’ right away designers tweeted it and re-tweeted each other about how true / not true / funny this site was, and yes I guess it is ‘kind of funny’ however I feel the motive behind it, which was discussed on .net magazine has been overlooked by many.
As I researched carousels, I decided at the last minute to write a carousel to share my findings and demonstrate carousel usability issues in a way that would educate, entertain, and cause folks to realise, “Hey, these things really are frustrating”.
That’s absolutely true. Carousels do annoy me, but that’s usually because of how they’ve been implemented or designed. Trying to read the messages on that site is very frustrating and I can see the argument against using them in that instance.
I feel that sites like this do not enhance the web in any way, but instead make me feel like If I decide to use a carousel in my latest project then I’m a bad designer and I’ve not thought about the content or accessibility. I’ve always been very impressionable and have tried to avoid using technology or style for the sake of it where possible, however there is ‘always’ a use case. Something that doesn’t work for you or even ‘most people’ could work really well for someone else.
Take Apple, they use carousels on many of their pages including the main iPhone landing page - I’m pretty sure Apple have taken into account accessibility here too, being a company that has enriched many disabled users’ lives with their product. That’s one example of many sites that use carousels really well.
My point here is, rather than slam people for using a certain technique or style instead take the time to understand each project and what they are trying to achieve. Do what works for your client / project, there are no rules.