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jQuery Vertical News Slider

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The last thing developers need today is another jQuery and/or CSS3 based content slider or carousel. I think the problems with these types of modules have been well documented.

About a year ago, however, I wrote a step-by-step tutorial for Issue #203 of Web Designer Mag that involved creating a “news content switcher”. I’ve been meaning to revisit, tweak, and release the code for that here and so I finally got around to it.

jQuery Vertical News Slider

This module, like the original in the magazine, is responsive and uses CSS3 for animation. What I find is more practical about this one (compared to the usual carousels and whatnot) is the fact that there’s no mystery as to what’s coming next; all the news items are clearly on display.

The content that shows in the preview (the image and description) is really incidental. That is, it’s not necessary to the readability and/or scannability of the module’s content, so I think it’s much more usable than other content sliders and switchers. In this way it’s a little more like a tab switcher, which has visible and clear options, rather than mystery items sliding in by surprise.

It’s not a jQuery plugin, it’s just a plug-and-play script with simple editable markup. This is because, other than speed and auto-rotating, I couldn’t find many significant “options” to include. Those two options are very easy to change in the code by reading the code comments.

Also, if you want different colors, the styles in the CSS file can be changed easily to accommodate any context.

I’m sure this has a few weaknesses (like accessibility; the clickable news headlines are not using anchors — is that bad?), so I’m glad to look at suggestions for improvements. You can view it on GitHub or use the links below to download and view a demo.

6 Responses

  1. You are right about this being better usability than most “mystery” sliders. The other big advantage comes from being more persuasive. when changing the slider from one feature to the next the eye moves along a shorter path than in most sliders where the eye must move outside the picture and down to a little number for the slide. in your version the person viewing is absorbing and remembering in short term memory the headline for the new article instead of keeping their short term memory fixed on an arbitrary slide number 4 they need to click. If you want your readers looking at your content what you have is good. if you are satisfied with readers spending the time they’ve planned for your site to be spent looking at numbers and counting slide rotations, then a traditional jquery slider should be just fine.

    I would possibly recommend adding a next and previous button because sometimes users want to use case: click, see picture, click, see picture, click see picture. quickly or at a speed of their choosing this should be doable without having to look at the mouse pointer and focus on moving the pointer to the next location. A fixed position next and previous button allows the user to position their mouse over the next button and then focus visually on the photo or headline while clicking quickly. If you satisfied with users having to stop looking at the content to track the movement of the mouse to the correct slide then you don’t need the next and previous buttons.

    Also there’s a slight confusion over when do we switch slides. in my opinion simply mousing over the text with a hover intent delay should be enough to switch slides since it indicates the user is focused on a particular slide earlier and easier then clicking. One related problem that always bothers me with this sort of slideshow is that you have to click twice to get to a news article. first you click on the tab to get the slide photo and page link, then you have to look for the mouse, move the mouse to the correct link for the page featured in the slide, then click on the page link. A better plan might be to let hover select the slide when you hover over a title and clicking the title on the left goes directly to the article. That would be less clicking and maybe more intuitive if done right.

    • That’s a good point about the hovering. I personally prefer clicking though, so I’ll probably keep it as is, as it’s simple enough to use.

  2. I would love to hide some of the lists and use a vertical scroller, how can I do that?

  3. Joe:

    I have been trying to get text color in news-headlines change when it is in selected state. How do i go about doing that?

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