Dear Forbes: Your Slide Shows Suck

By Deane Barker on October 16, 2007

Forbes has some great content on business, and they do a list article better than anyone. But, for some reason, they’ve chosen to cripple their slide shows with stupidity.

Consider this one about the most expensive homes in the world.

First of all, why a slide show? Why not just a page that lists all the pictures with a sentence or two of text beside them? I like the scroll wheel on my mouse — why can’t I just use that as a navigation tool? What is gained by going through this slide…by…slide?

Oh, right, ad impressions and useless page view stats. I forgot about those.

But why is this? The page view is more or less dead as a stat, and how are the banner ads helping here? People are concentrated on this slide show. They’re not going to roam around the page looking for something to click on.

A very important point: every single one of the slides in this show is transitory — you’re on it with five seconds, and you’re concentrated on getting of it and on to the next one. You’re not going to do anything else on these pages. You’re probably not even going to look at anything else. If I was an advertiser, I’d be pissed about appearing on any one of these pages. It’s an utterly wasted banner ad impression.

So, anyway, we have this asinine slide show with the little speed slider thing — pictured above. Problem is, it gives you no idea how fast either of the extremes are.

I sat there staring at a picture for 30 seconds before I realized it wasn’t going to change anytime soon. So, I cranked the slider out to as fast as it would go. Whoa — too fast. So fast that the page was reloading before the main image loaded. So I read some text next to a blank image, then the page reloaded. Whoops — back up.

Speaking of page load, it’s slow and annoying. The page cobbles together bit by bit, accompanied by a nice, long delay for the banner script to load. On my machine, it was taking two full seconds to load, which is about half as long as it takes to the read all the content on the page.

Once it does load, you’re inundated with banners, images, and navigation, except for the tiny little content area. So you get one image, and one sentence, and about four times that pixel area for advertising and navigation. Nice. Why not use abbreviated navigation on a page like this for the reasons I mentioned above in relation to the banner ad? There is only one thing you want to do when you’re on a slide — get to the next one. I don’t need all your friggin’ nav for this.

Forget it — I gave up.

In the end, I only complain because I care. The content was good. I was really interested in it. But this crappy slide show beat the enthusiasm right out of me.

It’s a lot like crab legs — they taste good, but it’s just too much damn work to eat them. Some people like crab legs enough to work at it. I’d rather just eat a McNugget.

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  1. i hope this post gets their attention somehow. I’ve been endlessly frustrated by their slideshows. My main problem is that as long as it is in slideshow format, I want to be able to control the movement – not have it happen automatically. But the default, it appears, is to start the slideshow automatically on a few seconds delay. it really pisses me off when I go to read the text, or study a picture some more, and it automatically jumps to the next slide. Then i’ll press “pause” and go back, but I can never tell if the slideshow is on manual or automatic mode, and sometimes it switches back to automatic. So sometimes I’ll press Pause again, just to make sure, and that reactivated the automatic mode! dammit

  2. Its even worse for us poor people who have (s)low bandwidth . I generally open 3-5 tabs when I am surfing , click on a link , let it open while I read a previously opened page. (thinking that the page is loading in the background).

    But ofcourse, for forbes the damn page loads up and then shifts to the new page and that starts loading and so on, in the end me missing most of the content. The first time I went to that site I was all confused .. ” what the heck is happening?!” as the slide show buttons hadn’t appeared yet! :)

    Funny thing is … the poor people are the ones who will see the houses of the rich and get jeolous !

  3. Forbes’ website is absolute horseshit. Their slideshows, their excessive ads in every format imaginable. Gar-bage.

  4. I couldn’t agree more. It’s funny because I was just subjected to one of their BS slideshows on the hottest cities this summer, and I was curious if anyone else hated this practice, and my search query was almost verbatim what Tom put above “Forbes’ slide shows are absolute horseshit”

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