Sliders, slideshows, slidedecks… Whatever you call them, they’re ubiquitous. They’re everywhere. For good or for bad. Mainstreamed and popularized by Apple.
So if you have a WordPress website, chances are that you’ll also want or need a WordPress slider plugin of some sort. But which one? Free or premium? Simple or advanced?
Basically, the way I see it, there are two groups of WordPress slider plugins:
The simple image sliders
If you just need a simple WordPress slideshow thing going on, there might be a suitable slideshow built right into your theme / framework. There’s a nice, simple image slider in Headway and a couple built into PageLines (including a killer advanced one) as well as both a regular and a responsive slider plugin for the Genesis / StudioPress themes.
If you’re not that lucky, you can look for a simple WordPress slider plugin. This review however, is about the second category of WordPress slideshow plugins:
The “special forces” sliders
These doesn’t just let you shuffle a few images around with a fade or slide transition. Nope. These also lets you do funky stuff like including videos, tapping social media sources for content, and lots more.
SlideDeck 2 is a what can be considered a true swiss army knife kind of WordPress slider plugin. As a result, it naturally might do more than what you’re looking for. But it may also be exactly what you need. It all depends on your needs. Read on!
Sexy, slick and slide
First impression you’ll get after installing SlideDeck 2 for the first time is “wow this is a sexy WordPress slider plugin!”.
There’s no doubt about it, SlideDeck 2 is my favorite slideshow plugin for WordPress, but its power does come at a cost: Complexity and speed. But if flexibility is what you need, it really is the ultimate slider plugin you can get your hands on.
It is by far and large the most feature impressive WordPress slidedeck plugin available today. And it’s made by a very design-centric and innovative company, Digital Telepathy.
Apart from acting as a simple image slider, SlideDeck 2 can be a:
- Content slider, elegantly pulling the excerpts and featured images of your featured posts.
- Curated content slider, aggregating content from your handpicked, favorite RSS feeds
- Pull your latest tweets, Instagrams, YouTube and Vimeo videoes.
And not only that (and here’s the big kahuna): You can even mix and match the above – in the same slidedeck!
What makes SlideDeck 2 unique?
You get a “live” preview of your customizations, so you can see how slick your slide will look on your website.
SlideDeck 1 (the old version) had its charms but also some frustrating quirks. When SlideDeck 2.0 was released in the early spring of 2012 – the issues I had with version 1 was a thing of the past. SlideDeck 2 was a total rewrite of version 1. A wholly new product. Vastly different in approach and concept… and overall: Much much better. The interface alone, is sexy and sweet. Have a look:
SlideDeck Content Sources: Mix, Match and Curate Content
In SlideDeck 2 you can mix and match content sources. What does that mean? It means you can dynamically tap your content from a wide variety of sources:
Apart from the dynamic content sources, you can make custom slidedecks, which can consist of HTML, images, video or text. And again, these can be combined in the same slide. Cool eh?
SlideDeck Lenses: The formatting and Design of your SlideDecks
Your content is presented and formatted with Lenses. SlideDeck Lenses are uniquely and distinctly designed and adapt to your content sources in an intelligent way. The same Lens will make your tweets look nice, while also ensuring your instagrams look nice.
Easily code your own SlideDeck Lenses!
Sliders made with SlideDeck 2 are responsive. Should be, and of course they are.
SlideDeck 2 is search engine friendly!
What’s less cool about SlideDeck 2?
Now, I’m gonna be as frank and honest as I always am:
SlideDeck 2 could as well be nicknamed SlowDeck 2 or SlideSlow 2 🙂 If it were an animal… It would be a turtle.
(maybe a mutant ninja turtle, but still a turtle…)
I’ve run an strace command in the terminal, and can verify that indeed SlideDeck 2 is a big-ass sumo plugin: It’s using more resources than the rest of my installed plugins combined!
It does offer many features though. I just really love speed and performance.
Speed improvement is coming in version 2.2
SlideDeck 2.2 has been announced and is coming soon, expected to arrive this spring. It promises drastical speed improvements as well as some other welcome improvements.
Clever of digital telepathy to announce version 2.2 a year after the launch of SlideDeck 2, to entice all the original launch-offer customers whose licenses are up for the yearly renewal, to renew.
I must admit, I’ve been on the fence of renewing due to the slomo speed.
So, do I recommend SlideDeck 2?
SlideDeck 2 is the perfect example of what I call the flexibility trade-off: Simplicity vs. complexity. You can’t have both. If you want or need many and advanced features (even to create simple results!) you need a somewhat complex tool.
So if I were to create a site with a simple front page image slider, I would not go the SlideDeck 2 route.
But overall, there really isn’t a more flexible WordPress slider plugin available on the market today – than SlideDeck 2.
So if you need it – definitely go get it – you won’t regret it!
If you don’t need it, go for a simpler, leaner, more light-weight WordPress slider plugin. For those purposes, I use the one built into the Headway theme, but there are other, good stand-alone WordPress slider plugin options out there. I’m gonna look into some of them in the nearby future. So stay tuned for more!
Which (WordPress) slidedeck plugin do you use? Let me know!