Smart Slider Review: A Beautiful WordPress Animated Slider Plugin You can Download for Free
Smart Slider 3 is a new plugin for WordPress which is designed to let you create animated sliders using a visual editor interface. It has packed in a huge amount of features which will allow you to create all kinds of sliders and blocks within your site which can contain many different types of elements, videos, fonts, images and more.
The plugin includes 100 pre-made slides which you can use as a starting point for your own slider, or you can create a blank slider from scratch.
As you would expect from a more complex plugin such as Smart Slider, it boasts a large amount of features designed to let you build just about any type of animated slider you can think of.
- Intuitive admin interface with live preview
- 5 slider types and block type in one product
- Totally responsive and touch friendly
- Adaptive, full-width, full-page behaviour
- Customizable arrows, bullets, thumbnail, bar
- Fully dynamic content with 39 generators
- Simple and Expert editor mode for the admin
- Build unique design with 16 varied layers
- 54 Super smooth background animations
- Layer animation builder with live timeline
- In, Loop and Out type for the layer animations
- Ken Burns effect with alterable focus point
- Font and Style Manager System for the layers
- Import & Export (with 100+ predefined slides)
- Layout creator – create your own template
- In-built Image editor and Lightbox
- Lazy loading images for better performance
- Automatic update system with one click
- SEO and script optimized
- Dynamic height and more than 200 features…
Using the Plugin
Upload and activate the plugin and you will see a new menu option named “Smart Slider” which when visited present you with a nice looking dashboard for the plugin. From here you can create your first slider, import one of the demo sliders, view the documentation, view video tutorials and access support. Its designed well and should be a great help for people using this plugin for the first time.
The first thing to do is hit the license key link and paste in your code you received when purchasing the plugin.
To begin with, I would recommend you try importing one of the 100 demo sliders by clicking the “Add Sample Slider” button which pulls up an overlay with clickable examples – you can then view the demo for that slider on their website.
Once the slider has been imported, you will see all the slides listed on the left hand side. You can click a slide and drag it’s position to re-order the slides.
If you click the slide, you will then open up the options for it so you can make changes to it. On the left pane, you will see the assets used in the slide – images, buttons, text and so on with links above so you can add your own elements in on separate layers.
To the right of this is the Slide settings and animation settings where you can name the slider and give it a description, set the slide background image and color, opacity and so on.
On the right is also the slide preview, here you can see how the slide looks and click on elements to edit them, you can drag the elements around with your mouse to reposition them, and also test out the slider in different screen resolutions.
Under the preview area is the timeline, here is where the timings and animations of your slider elements are set.
If you wish to change an element’s animation, you can click on it in the preview window to select it, then click the animation listed on the left which will open up the animation options. You can choose a type of animation to apply on the left from things like “fade”, “Flip” and “Rotate”. There is a preview window along with options for the duration, easing, delay and more.
Once you are happy with your slider, save it and you will see it listed on the main page. If you click on it you will see the options for publishing it on your site. You can place a shortcode, click the SmartSlider button when editing a post or page.
Or you can place it directly into your theme file by pasting the generated PHP code.
What can you do with this plugin?
If you browse through the demos available, you will see that this plugin can be used for much more than your typical sliders featured on the homepage of a website. In fact it can be used as a sort of visual page builder – you can build whole sections of your websites with it for things like a features area, portfolio section, complete landing pages etc.
In this demo, the plugin was used to build an animated features area for a product with sizing, features, text and a buy now button:
Here it used for a dynamic header for a gym website which showcases classes, opening times and so on.
Here it used to build a menu for a restaurant website :
This one makes use of the dynamic sources feature to pull in Youtube videos to create a playlist:
There is a free version of SmartSlider3 which you can download here, the free version limits you to 1 slider type and 6 layer types so you can test out the plugin and get a feel for it. To get the most of the plugin though you will need to consider a paid version which starts at $25 per year for a personal license with all the features which you can use on 1 domain. If you wish to use it on more than one site, then the lifetime license allows you to use it on 50 domains and includes lifetime updates for $100.
This is a beautifully designed plugin with a very high level of polish to it, the admin area of it is great and very easy to use. The amount of features and customization options available to you is huge so it may take a little while to get used to all the functions on offer which is where the pre-designed sliders come in – you can import any of these with one click and then look how they have been put together and either use one as the starting point for your slider or get ideas to build yours from scratch.
The demos are also beautifully designed to modern standards, no corners have been cut with these and the fact they have taken the time to include over 100 of them shows the developers dedication to this product.
As I touched on before, this plugin can be used for much more than a simple slider – being able to create whole sections of your website with animated interactions should really help your site stand out.
The full version of this plugin is only $25, for that price a plugin this well made is a bargain, I highly recommend you check out Smart Slider if you are looking for an easy way to add animated sections to your website.