WordPress Plugin Review: SlideDeck 3

Most premium WordPress themes come with image gallery and image slider shortcodes built in, but when it comes to handling different types of media, including social media, few compare to SlideDeck 3.

So what does SlideDeck 3 do that other media sliders don't? It handles uploaded content in a breeze. You can throw photos, video, text and html code at it and produce some truly original individual slides with interactive content. You can also add “dynamic content” which is data pulled from social media accounts, from Facebook and Twitter to YouTube, Instagram and Flickr.

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 SlideDeck 3 introducing new SEO options, faster load times, and making it more responsive.

The addition of social media content really opens up the range of uses for this plugin. It works well embedded in posts, but can just as well be used as a dynamic header for a website or a neat sidebar widget displaying your latest media content.

SlideDeck 3 also brings new “lenses” to the table. A lens in SlideDeck language is a template or theme. The default installation comes pre-packaged with different lenses that you can use to change the way your slide looks. All the lenses are customizable via the SlideDeck 3 admin panel. Options are intuitive and take effect immediately in the very handy preview screen.

As I mention in the video, there are a couple of places where a little extra wording or explanation wouldn't go amiss, such as how to obtain API keys for YouTube and other platforms. That being said, the benefit of buying into a premium plugin is the support it provides. There is an active ticket centre where you can submit a query or browse existing FAQs in case you need troubleshooting help.

The other critical point I would make is in terms of the lenses. The personal version of the plugin ships with 9 lenses pre-installed and there is the option to purchase 3 add-on lenses. These micro-payment options within the theme are presumably where Hummingbird hopes to make some extra revenue. However, I suspect that it is a minimal revenue stream compared with sales of the 3 main plugin price plans overall. Why not bring more value to your users and include those “premium” lenses as a core element of what is after all, already a “premium” plugin?

All in all, I enjoyed reviewing SlideDeck 3. I reviewed version 2 almost 3 years ago and while there hasn't been any real radical change to the plugin, the folks have streamlined and improved what was already by far the best multimedia WordPress content slider plugin on the web.

So, if you're looking for an easy to use and top quality content slider, go give SlideDeck 3 a try. You can download and install a free trial version if you want to get a hands on feel for it.

Disclaimer: Hummingbird Web Solutions kindly provided a copy of their plugin for the purpose of this review. The links to the SlideDeck 3 website are affiliate links, meaning that should you decide to purchase this plugin, WPLiving will earn a small commission. However, this did not influence my opinion in reviewing the plugin.

Written by Will Ellington

Originally from the UK, I currently live in Osaka, Japan, where I work in higher education. I’ve been a WordPress user since 2004 and have developed numerous projects with it over the years. Wpliving is a place to share things i've learnt along the way, and to explore innovations in WordPress too.

2 Comments

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  1. Thanks for the review Will. I was wondering whether it’s worth paying out for a premium plugin like this when there are so many free options available. Particularly given the fact that Slidedeck 2 is free as you point out in your post.

    • Hi Josh, thanks for taking time out to comment. To answer your question, I think it all depends on what your end use is. If you’re looking for a simple gallery plugin for images only then sure go with one of the free plugins. Also, if Slidedeck 2 has the functionality you need then obviously there’s no need to buy the premium version.

      I think where Slidedeck 3 becomes relevant is in terms of SEO, bug fixes and crucially support. I guess, a big part of buying any premium add-on for WordPress ultimately boils down to support and updates. It’s really down to your priorities.

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