Understanding the Advantages of Carousel Plugins

What is jQuery?

jQuery is a fast and powerful JavaScript Library that simplifies html document navigation, event handling, and animation.  Most importantly, it enables and encourages separation of html from javascript code.

Carousel Plugins

A carousel plugin displays a number of slides, each of which may contain images and text.  There are typically links or buttons to navigate through the slides.

This enables a website to display a lot of information and creative design in a relatively small amount of space. A number of third party carousel plugins are available for download from the internet including jCarousel, jCarousel Lite.

Advantages Over Flash

When a jQuery carousel is used, the output presented to browsers and search engines is clean html, not flash.  The JavaScript is output separately from the html.

  • Can be more easily content managed. Because the content is html, regions representing the html for individual slides can be marked as content placeholders.  A Content Management System (CMS), can be used to modify the images and text within the individual slides.  A developer or designer is not needed to add an image and text describing a new promotion on your home page.
  • Accessible to search engines Search engines primary process text html to discover what your website is about.  Not all search engines can read flash files, and those that do typically find little text content.  Using jQuery presents standard html that is visible to all search engines. (including text, header elements, links, images, alt tags, etc.).
  • Works on mobile devices including iPhone and iPad. Some mobile devices do not support Flash including Apple’s iPhone and iPad.  The devices do, however, support jQuery and JavaScript.  Your jQuery Carousel animations can work properly for customers with these devices.

The Future of jQuery

jQuery is a great addition to the set of tools available to create Search Engine Optimization (SEO) friendly websites.   There are a myriad of plugins available and many more are coming.  There is even a Touch-Optimized Web Framework for Smartphones & Tablets coming soon.