WP Sliders: M-vSlider

jQuery based image slider plugins for JavaScript and WordPress have gotten so good that there are now at least 50 slider plugins that would easily pass  our laundry list test of slider attributes. By the way, just 6-12 months ago, this was state of the art for the best features for  WordPress slider plugins:

Slider Performance Criteria
0)Able to utilize directly WP media library images or directly upload images into slider;
1)Next+Previous, thumbnail and number/dot navigation each as optional choices;
2)Auto play mode with choice of hover over slider to pause playing;
3)A drop down list of many slide transition animations  and special effects;
4)Control of the timing of the slide transition and the time of the animation as well;
5)Ability to add captions for each slide  and control their appearance within or outside the image windows;
6)Ability to add link addresses to each slide in a manually created slide deck.
The last criteria, ability to have links on each slide, is important to splash pages because that allows the WordPress developer user to direct a client to a specific page for more info, etc. This in turn means splash pages can become attractive sitemaps for a website.

The M-vSlider meets most of the above criteria – so lets see how well it works:[m-vslider id=”3″] Now all of the images used in this slideshow are of the same width, 900px, but differ in height. Also the slider windows has been set 750×500 pixels so M-Vslider has to resize the images and fit them into a window with an aspect ratio not matching the original image. Now some sliders, when confronted with this mismatch, will allow the developer to choose “crop to fit” or “fit in window”. M-Vslider takes the “crop to fit” approach.

However, M-vSlider is missing some important capabilities. First it is unable to draw images for NextGen Gallery, with 20million downloads, one of the more popular WordPress gallery management plugins. Even from the WordPress Media Gallery, M-vSlider does nottransfer any caption/description or  link information  with the image into the slider. This means users have to re-enter this data in the M-vSlider editor. Finally, M-vSlider does not have such advanced slider features as the ability to edit easily its 5 slider design themes, on allowance for layers in the images so that creating of clever banner ads is simplified, nor is there the capability to create an automatic Post image slider which takes the latest “n” posts adds the featured image and displays an user sized excerpt in the generated slider.  Yep, WordPress sliders are getting that good.

But lets not lose sight of the overall utility of the M-vSlider. It is free, simple to use, has a simple shortcode plus guides on how to embed the PHP call in your page templates. It has a mobile-aware responsive option. It has a  wide selection of transitions which users can control with both animations time and overall slide display time. Given m-vSliders robust handling of slide windows with differing image sizes, this is a versatile slider for use in your WordPress sidebars, headers plus posts and pages.