5 Designer-Friendly Slideshow Plugins for jQuery

The web is all about building on components other people have perfected. In the case of slideshows, there’s no need for all of us to start reinventing a wheel of rotating content and images.

Slideshows are remarkably easy to implement and a great way to pack lots of information into a small space. The easiest way to get this sort of functionality is with a jQuery plugin. If you use one of these five designer-friendly tools in your design, you’ll cut development time while still finding a transition style that fits your needs.

How to make it work

The key to making this come together is to design around the particular plugin you want to leverage. Keep in mind that the more you change the layout and design, the more time your developer will spend implementing the slideshow. Changing colors is no problem and a great place to start. But understand that if you try to move components around or fundamentally change how they work, you’ll probably eliminate the time savings of using the tool.

The goal is to pick a plugin that fits your needs as closely as possible, and tweak it a bit to ensure it’s a unified part of your design. Your developer will love you, and you’ll save time and money. This means your best bet is to dig into these plugins: Explore the various options they each have, and you’ll be well prepared to implement them into projects as needed. Making strategic design choices gets a lot easier simply by knowing what is readily available.

The plugins

The following plugins all accomplish the same basic functions, but each has its own twist that makes it unique. They’re all easy to implement and are based on simple HTML, and of course, jQuery. You can’t go wrong basing a site on one of these designer-friendly slideshow plugins.

TN3 Gallery

The TN3 Gallery offers bonus features beyond the standard image rotator. It can also function as a full-blown gallery: It includes support for multiple albums and even has a full screen mode.

Nivo Slider

The Nivo Slider is a breeze to implement and has some fantastic transitions to select from. This one can also be implemented on WordPress very easily—it’s packaged as a ready-to-go plugin. This makes it a fantastic solution for those wanting to avoid code altogether.


This über-simple slider has a style that fits many situations. What it lacks in fancy options it makes up for in sheer speed. This tiny plugin loads quickly and ensures your site isn’t slowed down by a bloated image rotator.


Orbit is very similar to the Slides plugin, but it has a few extra features that make it a nice fit in certain situations. The timer feature that allows users to play and pause the show can make all the difference in certain situations.

Coin Slider

If you’re looking for a slightly different transition approach, Coin Slider might be just what you need. On the surface this is yet another slider. But it’s truly a polished plugin that’s not only simple to use but is also really slick.