Parallax Scrolling… What’s It All About?

Parallax Scrolling… What’s It All About?

Matt Sims

August 1, 2014
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4 min read

Parallax scrolling is a unique website design feature. You really have to see some examples to get the gist of it. Essentially, it lets you create a website based around scrolling to navigate through a creative, story-like journey.

What is parallax scrolling?

Parallax scrolling is a unique website design feature. You really have to see some examples to get the gist of it. Essentially, it lets you create a website based around scrolling to navigate through a creative, story-like journey. Check out some of these examples!

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Happy 25th Birthday Game BoyWell-made parallax scrolling websites are top dogs when it comes to creative web design. However, what do you get from it? Let’s discuss the pros and cons concerned with parallax scrolling sites.

The negatives of using parallax scrolling websites

Not mobile friendly

Research by Statista suggests that by 2017, 90% of internet users will access online content through their phones. If this is the case, it will obviously be a great loss to the parallax scrolling website owner, as the effect does not work on the majority of current touch-enabled devices. Mobile browsers limit the execution of scripts during scroll, so the parallax effects won’t happen until you stop scrolling – not very impressive. Losing out on such a potentially huge portion of internet users could suggest that this type of design may not be worth investing in.

SEO problems

There is much debate about parallax scrolling websites and how they fare with search engines. As these sites are usually design-led, there is often a lack of text or keywords for the search engines to get their teeth into.Some parallax sites also have all their content on one page, with one URL. This is not great for search engine discovery either, and will restrict how a search engine works out what you do. However, there are ways in which you can avoid this using jQuery – so with good planning before designing, you'll be able to prevent these SEO problems.

SEO Star Cog

And finally, for the negatives anyway, a resource-intensive parallax can be slow to load, which can also impact your SEO success. This isn’t aimed solely at parallax scrolling websites, but slow load times – often due to congested coding or large image files – will affect your SEO rankings. But the risk you take with a slower load time could be worth it if you can wow the visitor with a stunning design. So let’s talk about the pros, shall we?

The positives of using parallax scrolling websites

Wow factor

When it comes to the wow factor, we’re big fans of parallax scrolling designs. If it's appropriate to your audience, we can see past (or workaround) the negatives that might come with it. Parallax scrolling websites are a joy to interact with, and they rarely fail to keep your attention. And that’s why they make more of an impact on their viewers.

Extremely shareable

It’s this wow factor that makes you want to share it.

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A well-planned and perfectly-executed parallax site has every chance to go viral. When you supply people with something so aesthetically pleasing to see and use, they’ll want to show it to their friends. Who needs search engines anyway, right? You’ve got real people to help promote your site, and they’ll do it for free.

Interactive

From the moment that website opens, you can start your parallax scrolling journey. All websites are interactive, but something about parallax scrolling feels different. A different kind of control. Much like sitting in a Ferrari — you aren’t really doing anything different from sitting in any other road car, but you just know it’s in a class of its own, and therefore it feels special.

So who should use parallax scrolling websites?

Parallax scrolling is great for established brands. They aren’t going to suffer immensely from any SEO negatives as they likely already have a loyal following. Or perhaps a scrolling design could just be used on a single page of a site as a feature to celebrate a milestone for a company or product.Even behind-the-scenes content can get the parallax treatment. Check out this stunning Life of Pi design showing the making of the film.If you’re a small company starting up, still trying to find your feet within your industry, you might want to hold off on using a parallax scrolling website as your primary site. It would possibly be wiser to gain a respectable following first. But hey, who’s to say it won’t work well for your company?

Conclusion

Parallax scrolling websites are on the rise. People are starting to see the joy and entertainment their audience can get from using them. These new effects are created through the passion of website designers, and it’s great to see more interesting designs appearing on websites for users to engage with.We love parallax scrolling websites, so share some of your favourites with us. Or if you have any questions to ask about designing parallax scrolling websites, we’d be delighted to answer them!

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