You will likely see some kind of WordPress responsive slider on most sites which are managed by our beloved CMS. Sliders have become important element in WordPress community. Even some themes now come integrated with slider to showcase photos, videos and text.
They are great way to make site more appealing. Despite seeing some innovations in slider technology, most sliders are still pretty basic. They are many pros and cons of using sliders. Some say that they are not good from SEO aspect and may slow down website.
The other problem with WordPress slider plugins is ease of use. Most of them are bloated and come with a learning curve for beginners.
Despite some negative thoughts, sliders are still very popular and widely used. As there are so many of them, free and paid, it is hard to choose the right one. It all, in the end, depends on your needs.
Let’s say you were in the market for a brand new premium slider plugin for your WordPress site. Which would you choose? Would you pick the one that is easiest to use? Or would you pick the one with the most features?
SlideDeck vs Layer Slider vs Slider Revolution Comparison
- Slide Themes
- Live Preview
- Lazy Load
- Thumbnail Navigation
- Import/Export slides
- Video slides
- Dynamic slides
- Customizable skins
- WPML ready
- Cross browser compatibility
- SEO friendly
- Insert audio
- Unlimited layers
- Custom HTML content
- Multiple sliders on the same page
- Sample sliders included
- Loops feature
- Keyboard navigation
- Fixed image
- Visual Editor
- Social Sites Sharing
- Call-to-action Buttons
- Slider Revolution
- Layer Slider
- Comes as addon
- There is no sample sliders
- Comes as addon
NOTE: I have also compared Layer Slider vs Slider Revolution so be sure to check that too. And if you need custom post slider WordPress plugin, then check Theia Post Slider, while Prime Slider is great choice if you are using Elementor page builder.
What makes SlideDeck so powerful are the number of options available. Now in its third version, SlideDeck has come a long way. Back in June this year, the original developers (Digital Telepathy) sold the plugin to Hummingbird Web Solutions.
Hummingbird pushed ahead with the development of SlideDeck3 introducing new SEO options, faster load times, and making it more responsive.
Most significant feature is ability to add “dynamic content.” That means you can pull data from external sources like social media accounts into your slides. I don’t remember seeing this in any other WordPress slider plugin.
You can put your favorite content sources right into your slider and display content from sources like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, Vimeo, etc.
Mix it up by combining several in one slider. The addition of social media content really opens up the range of uses for this plugin. SlideDeck 3 also brings new “lenses.” A lens in SlideDeck language is a template or theme.
SlideDeck3 Lenses give your sliders a new appearance. With lenses available you have more control and flexibility in customization.
From here you can also create a new lens from scratch, or copy one of the existing lenses and edit it. Unfortunately there is no visual editor for creating your lense.
It is handled with CSS so you would need to be able to code one yourself or be able to tweak the existing CSS. The default installation comes pre-packaged with few different lenses that you can use to change the way your slider looks. All the lenses are customizable via the SlideDeck 3 admin panel.
The personal version of the plugin comes with 9 lenses pre-installed and there is the option to purchase more. How you add content is up to you.
Mix and match, upload photos, or add video URLs. You can even embed your own HTML Code, including forms, maps, and more. Options are intuitive and take effect immediately in the preview screen.
WordPress Responsive Slider
Once you install SlideDeck, it shows up as part of the WordPress admin interface with a menu entry leading to configuration system.
You will need to enter license in order to use it. Once verified the plugin will be fully functional. Additionally you will notice a few other submenus besides Advanced Options.
There’s also Addons section where you can upgrade your plugin to either the professional or developer license, Lenses section that allows you to upload or create new “skins” for your sliders, and Manage section where you can create and manage new sliders.
There are two types of SlideDecks. Dynamic SlideDecks and Custom Content SlideDecks. Dynamic SlideDecks pull content from other places such as RSS feeds, social feeds, or image and video sharing accounts.
Custom Content SlideDecks are where each slide is composed of content uploaded by the SlideDeck creator and can be an image, text, video, or html from slide to slide. To create a new SlideDeck, all you have to do is click on the Create SlideDeck button next to the option you want.
Lenses offer you ready to use designs for the sliders which are highly customizable. You can select any of the available themes/lenses and get started instantly.
Depending which license you purchased, you will have access to more or less lenses. With Personal license you get 9 lenses, 11 with Professional license plan and all 14 if you get Developer license plan.
All available Lenses are:
–Prime – Pull content from your favorite social platforms and showcase it in full width sliders, or with a light box effect.
–Tool Kit – Handles images, videos, text , and custom HTML.
–Titles – This lens displays your latest blog posts or other dynamic content sources with images.
–Reporter – Gives equal priority to images and text in your slider. It has unique navigation options and side-by-side presentation of your content.
–Proto Video – Specifically built for video sources.
–Proto – Does not have any unique configuration options of its own. It still does a wonderful job of presenting slider content beautifully.
–Polarad – This lens mimics old instant film prints and contains several variations and layouts. There are three color variations, and four layout styles.
–O-Town – It divides the content vertically, but not an even 50% split like other lenses. It supports all of the content types and has full support for custom slides.
–Leather – Contains gorgeous textures and a unique top-positioned navigation by default. It’s a flexible theme which works with images, videos, or even mixed-content sources like RSS feeds.
–Half Moon – For showing of your mixed media content. The title of your content is boldly featured and centered vertically with the content excerpt.
–Fashion – For presenting your content with a distinct retro style and elegance. Has a unique style for captions and excerpts, plus a nice navigation style.
–Classic – Main difference is the “spine” feature and vertical bars used as the navigation for this Lens.
–Block Title – It shows the titles of your slides with a solid background that can be controlled with the accent color.
–Parfocal – Lens inspired from the Ken Burns Effect, specially designed to make your image sliders look lively and attractive.
Addons ad even more features and options to this WordPress responsive slider plugin. All addons are included in the price for only Developer License. If you have a Personal or Professional License, you can buy these addons individually too.
1. Import / Export Slider Addon – With this addon, you can import or export sliders created on different sites or for sharing a slider with someone else.
Export Slider option will create a JSON file. Ypu just need to import this file in your other WordPress site using the ‘Import Slider’ option. This addon is included in SlideDeck3 Developer License. If you don’t have developer license, it can be purchased separately for $9.
SlideDeck plugin addons
2. SlideDeck Scheduler Addon – With Scheduler addon, you can, obviously, schedule your slides. No need to set reminders for yourself to manually change your sliders as they will be triggered or stopped in configured time range.
It is included in SlideDeck3 Developer License or if you don’t have developer license, it can be purchased separately for $11.
3. Lead Generation Addon – This addon makes possible placing Call-to-action buttons on your slides. As soon as someone lands on your website, they are immediately drawn to your slider.
Lead generation addon will engage your visitors, create an efficient workflow, point your visitors in the desired direction and boost your conversion rate.
SlideDeck works anywhere on your WordPress site and it is simple to implement. It looks great on homepage, product pages and portfolios. You can even use it in sidebar and footer widgets. There are various features SlideDeck3 offers. Here are few main:
- Responsive Design – As most traffic comes through the small screen devices, the responsiveness is extremely important. SlideDeck slider plugin is fully responsive and it will look great on any screen size along with the other parts of your site.
- Multiple Content Types – As already mentioned, Slide Deck supports multiple content types for the slider in order to extend the usability of the plugin. You can create sliders with images, text, HTML and videos.
- Drag and Drop Sliders – The sliders are very easy to manage. You can drag and drop the sliders to re-order and arrange them as you need.
- Visual Slide Editing – You can create and customize the sliders with a visual editor. Modify text content, navigation, transitions and many other elements of your deck. You can select one of the designs from the available lenses and fully customize every lens to match your needs.
- Select Content from External Sources – You can generate your SlideDeck sliders by dynamically pulling content from external sources like social sharing sites.
- Slide Deck offers you an easy option to select content from a number of external sources, from your WordPress posts to YouTube videos to Pinterest images. You are free to select your content from these sources to create your sliders.
- Live Preview – As you create your sliders you will have the live preview to check how it looks before it goes live in the site. When you start editing your content, the plugin will start showing the preview of the slider that is exactly same with its front-end view.
- Lazy Loading Feature – Slide Deck comes with the lazy loading feature. When a user lands on your site the slider will be shown on demand which will minimize the impact on the loading time.
Creating WordPress Responsive Slider With SlideDeck
I am using Developer license so all features are unlocked. When you go to create slides using SlideDeck 3 plugin, you have option to create Custom content slides or Dynamic slides.
If you go with Custom Content option you will be able to create slides which consist of text, images, video or HTML. Depending which one you wish to use several options will be provided. Options like: upload image, pick image from your site WordPress library or specify URL of image. You can also put caption, description, image scaling, prefered size, body text position, video URL, etc.
Custom Content settings for each slide option
If you choose to make slides out of external services, then you will go with Dynamic Source option. This will make possible to combine content from multiple sources like YouTube, Flickr, Pinterest, Google+, Facebook, your own RSS feeds…into one dynamic slider.
You can choose from 15 external sources to populate your slides. Depending which source you pick, you will have more or less options to configure.
Some of external service settings for Dynamic Source
Options When Configuring Slides
Except adding slides there are also various settings under Options panel. Depending on which option you choose for creating slides (Custom or Dynamic), settings my be different.
In Options panel you can choose which lens you wish to use. Number of available lenses depends on license you have and if slides are made as Custom content or Dynamic source.
Depending on which lens you pick, available settings may change. In Setup tab under Option panel you can change size, overlay, covers, auto adjust or schedule slider if you have appropriate addon.
Appearance tab provides choosing font, color, caption position, image scaling, lens variation, border frame, etc.
Under Content tab you can make entire slide to be link, choose to open link in new tab or same window, enable CTA (you need to have appropriate addon)…
Navigation tab makes possible setting when slide controls are shown to the visitor, keyboard navigation, allow users to use mouse wheel navigation or touch navigation and other navigation options.
In Playback tab you are able to set which slide you want to start as first, choose to randomize slides, slide transition, animation speed, autoplay etc.
For most options in tabs you have tooltip which explains what each settings do in a shape of question mark (tooltip can be hard to spot as it blends with background).
Depending of license/addon you purchased, you will have/not have additional panels except Options. Those are Custom CSS and Import/Export Slider panel.
When done setting up and configuring your slides, you just need to click Save SlideDeck button at the bottom. You will be prompted with message telling you how you can insert your slider on desired place.
SlideDeck3 responsive slider for WordPress comes with three plans. Those are Personal plan for $99 that allows you to use the plugin for one site, Professional plan for $119 that allows you to use the plugin for three sites, and the Developer plan for $149 which allows you to use the plugin with unlimited number of sites.
The license expires after a year no matter which license you purchased. You can renew your license at a discounted rate after expiration.
Your sliders will continue to function after your license expires. But it is recommended maintaining a valid license in order to keep SlideDeck updated and ability to get support.
If you have purchased the Professional or Developer plan, you must be sure to install the pre-requisite SlideDeck tier plugins (Personal, Professional Addon).
For example, if you have the Professional tier, you need to first install Personal and then the Professional Addon. If you bought the Developer tier, you must first install Personal, then the Professional Addon and then the Developer Addon.
You can also purchase SlideDeck 3 Lifetime which gives you all the functionality of the Developer tier for a one-time price of $299. This covers all updates and support for the current version of SlideDeck up to (but not including) version 4.0.
What’s the Difference Between Pricing Plans?
Each tier of license allows you to use SlideDeck, as well as receive customer support and get free updates for a different number of sites.
Personal works for one site, Professional for 3 sites, and Developer for unlimited number of sites. Also Professional and Developer tier allows you to create Custom Content decks.
The Developer tier unlocks the use of HTML slides in the Custom Content decks as well as the ability to duplicate, edit, and create lenses with the lens editor. The Developer tier also comes bundled with the SlideDeck.js Dev Kit for free.
Depending on which license you have, you will have access to less or more lenses, addons and other features. For details check pricing plans. You can even try SlideDeck live demo to get some basic feeling how it works – Check SlideDeck 3 Demo Free!
SlideDeck Review Final Words
A lot of WordPress themes come with sliders built-in and some people may wonder why a plugin like SlideDeck 3 is so important. Sure, each person may not need it to the same degree.
SlideDeck3 is one of the leading WordPress slider plugins that comes with many features and easy to use interface that makes it a newbie friendly plugin. It offers you a number of navigation options which is an important part of a slider. You can select from thumbnails, dots, dates, titles etc.
It also offers you a number of transition effects to choose from and you can increase the social sharing of your slides by creating social sharing overlays. With SlideDeck you’re able to choose exactly where you want a slider. Whether that’s in the footer, sidebar, in-post, or on a page.
Additionally, the ability to mix and match the content type is a perfect for showing off portfolio pieces or using specific types of content to tell different messages for a business or blog.
Along with the other features mentioned above, you can play around with the font of the sliders. You can use the standard font as well as Google font list to make the sliders more attractive. You can also style the sliders with your own CSS if you are comfortable with coding.
While using SlideDeck 3 I did find some glitches. For example in Custom Content when adding description in slides, options like bold, font, size, insert link (visual editor)…. would not show. I found that this also happens in live demo provided on official SlideDeck site. Maybe it was problem on my side.
Some may also find this plugin little pricey. Compared with Slider Revolution ($19) and Layer Slider ($18), which are very popular slider plugins, price of $99 for single site license may be little too much.
Especially if we take into consideration that with Personal plan you cant even add video and text slides in Custom content section. It would be better if they return previous price for Personal plan which was $49.
In this case, with current prices, it is better to add little more than and go for Professional or Developer License. Maybe even split costs with someone who is also interested. Probably the best-selling point of SlideDeck is option to import into slides content from external sources.
I didn’t used Slider Revolution nor Layer Slider in some time so cant say what new features are added or if any other WordPress slider plugin offers this. Lenses are also feature that would outweigh someone to invest in SlideDeck 3.
Overall, it’s a great WordPress slider plugin. It’s easy to use, modern and fully responsive (as I could see). If not sure, check out free version (Lite) first. You can get it on official site and it is called SlideDeck3 Lite Responsive Content Slider.
Hope you liked reading this review. Which slider plugin do you use for your WordPress needs? Let me know in comment below!
- Lenses modules
- Tons of options
- Mobile and touch responsive
- Option to show site posts in slide
- Ability to pull content from external sources into slides
- The “lenses” can be confusing to some users
- No documentation except knowledge base
- Cant mix Dynamic and Custom slides
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