Heal Your Church WebSite

Teaching, rebuking, correcting & training in righteous web design.

Photo album or scrolling pix – which leads to higher conversion rates?

Yesterday’s post raised this question in a comment “… our church is working on a redesign of our website. One of the features that we would like to have is some sort of scrolling display of pictures. We are looking at possibly using flash to achieve this. I know there are other ways such as animated gifs, but it seems to me that flash is a good choice for this type of application. What do others think?”

First thing I think is that “what will scrolling pictures do in terms of my church web site’s conversion goals?”

The WikiPedia defines marketing conversion as:

“… when a prospective customer takes the marketer’s intended action. If the prospect has visited a marketer’s web site, the conversion action might be making an online purchase, or submitting a form to request additional information.”

In the case of most church and/or lay ministry web sites, I’d think the conversion goal would be two fold:

  1. get people into the pews
  2. get people in the pews converted to Christianity

I’m not sure how scrolling pictures would help achieve this goal – especially if the scrolling pictures are without context and without provisions to provide the user control of their virtual destiny.

Second thought is “I wonder if instead of a scrolling display of pictures, a photo gallery isn’t in order?”

If the purpose of the scrolling pictures is to deliver impactful imagery of one’s people and personalities, then I say excellent, however …

… I also say, allow the user to peruse the pictures at their pace – not yours; and in the order that interests them – not you. Meaning, provide them with a more meaningful memory leveraging a common and comfortable media metaphor: the photo album.

There are in fact several free and almost free tools to accomplish this – most with a ‘scrolling’ or ‘slideshow-like’ mechanism. Here are but a few:

If you know of others, don’t be shy, leave us a love note with a link!


  1. I think they are allowed to use flash to run some pics by the visitor. You can’t count on every visitor wanting to go to a photo album. Taste and restraint are important tho.

    Here’s a site that uses flash image header nicely:

    And their photo-album is flash driven, too.

  2. “You can’t count on every visitor wanting to go to a photo album.”

    Exactly my point – why force a scrolling album on a user who doesn’t want to see any images, album or otherwise?

    Point is, the user is in control .. And remains focused in the conversion goal.

  3. Not to mention that movement is designed to attract your eye. Flash animations are annoying and distracting when you are trying to read text on the page and your eye keeps getting sucked up to the flash header.

    Stick with a static header.

  4. Most of the sites that I have seen that use a slideshow of images are actually showing a slideshow of clickable banners showing upcoming events, and the like. http://www.dulleschurch.org is a good example.

    However, I reiterate my comment from yesterday – there is *no need* for this to be done in Flash, when it can be very easily achieved in Javascript. I posted the link to SmoothGallery yesterday, which does exactly this.

  5. I use and like (love) smugmug ( http://www.smugmug.com ) for our church’s photo galleries ( http://centralpc.smugmug.com/ ).

    One thing to note, they offer free (pro!) accounts to non-profits. Definitely worth considering for church sites.