Are Web "slideshows" and "carousels" the same thing? If not, what is the difference?

For "Web slideshow" or "carousel", I mean HTML image galleries like:

  • You showed examples of what you consider slideshows. Why don't you show what you consider a carousel?
    – John Conde
    Jun 26 '14 at 18:35
  • ok I have edited the question
    – Pere
    Jun 26 '14 at 18:39
  • Original question: english.stackexchange.com/q/180612/26651
    – Pere
    Jun 26 '14 at 18:39

They are somewhat similar:

  • Show pieces of content one at a time
  • Controls for forward and backwards
  • Autoplay feature that can be configured to transition automatically on a timer

However, I would draw the following distinctions:


  • Primarily for viewing a set of images one at a time.
  • May support a very large number of images.
  • Preloads the next image for instantaneous display.
  • Typically uses common image transitions such as fade and wipe.
  • Usually uses buttons or thumbnails for previous and next.

enter image description here (image source)


  • For viewing a set of content blocks (usually more than just images) one at a time.
  • Usually supports a small number of elements (up to six or so) because it features a visible button to navigate to each of them.
  • Typically uses sliding transitions rather than fading transitions.
  • Often shows some of the actual content of the previous and next blocks (with a portion faded or angled) rather than relying on buttons alone.

(image source)


I think this is a semantics issue. I would say that carousel is likely a more developer oriented term while web slide show is a more user friend show. I doubt you have non-developers as for a web carousel on their sites.

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