If you’re thinking about using parallax as a visual effect for your website but feel unsure if it is the right choice, you’ve come to the right place. In this post, you will learn what is parallax, methods that are commonly used in applying it, its pros and cons, and some tips for implementing it.
What is Parallax Web Design?
Parallax, or parallax scrolling, is a unique web design technique that involves motion graphics effect to create the illusion of depth on a website. In parallax scrolling, background images move slower than foreground images as you scroll down the web page, resulting in a 2D effect.
History of Parallax Web Design
Parallax is derived from the Greek word parallaxi, which means “alteration”. In the 1980s, the parallax effect was used in video games, such as Star Force, Street Fighter II, and Sonic the Hedgehog. A few years later, it found its way in web design.
Principles of Parallax Web Design
Now that you have a basic understanding of what parallax is, let’s take a look at the guiding principles that every web designer utilising parallax should keep in mind.
1. A site with parallax scrolling isn’t like your traditional website.
On conventional sites, the content hierarchy often acts like a flow chart, where the most important content is placed at the top of the page. Thus, this provides users with a structured and organised web experience. However, this often lacks the dynamism that some users expect in modern-day websites. Enter parallax design. It offers a unique scrolling experience similar to leafing through the pages of a book, so instead of just reading your web content, users are more engaged in the narrative as they scroll down your page.
2. Highlight your Unique Selling Proposition (USP).
When you put your USP in your headlines, apply the parallax effect to make them animated and attractive. After all, you’re trying to tell a narrative to engage your users. What better way to catch their attention and keep them interested than a dynamic web element like parallax scrolling?
3. Add context in the form of icons or images.
Icons and images provide entertainment value to your website visitors which helps deepen their engagement and improve your conversion rate.
4. Less is more.
Keep your background layer simple to minimise confusion and sensory overload. Stick to what you think is right for the needs of your users and the narrative you want to tell. Using parallax with other techniques may only distract your users instead of helping them easily understand what your website is about.
Pros and Cons of Parallax Web Design
While parallax design offers a lot of benefits, it also has a few downsides. Let’s take a look at its pros and cons to guide you in making an informed decision.
- Parallax adds an attractive, engaging and fluid movement to an otherwise static website. This results in a dynamic user experience, which in turn increases the dwelling time of users on your site.
- The parallax effect can be beneficial for your SEO efforts. Search engine sites like Google rewards those that can keep users glued on their pages for as long as possible.
- Conversion-wise, it can direct attention to your forms and Call-to-Action phrases.
- The fluid effect of parallax design goes well with storytelling, allowing you to create a pleasing and dynamic page for the story of your brand, product, or service.
- Implementing parallax showcases the creativity and professionalism of your team. A well-designed website is a credible and respected website.
- Older web browsers like Mozilla and Internet Explorer 8 often have a difficult time processing parallax design.
- Parallax design is not ideal for mobile use. It can slow down your site when being viewed on a mobile device. Thus, we recommend removing it from the mobile version of your site altogether.
Tips for Creating a Web Design with Parallax Scrolling
Here are some things to keep in mind when you’re designing a parallax website:
- Keep things clean and simple. Complicated visual effects can distract your users and make it difficult for them to distinguish content from your design.
- Use parallax design to tell your story. Adding a storytelling element to your site engages the users and the fluid movement of the parallax effect can enhance it.
- Make things fun. Enhance the depth of your page when utilizing parallax design.
- Use parallax to emphasize calls to action. This will improve the user experience and help deliver higher conversions, too.
- Don’t forget to conduct cross-browser compatibility and mobile responsiveness tests. Parallax designs often slow websites down when implemented on these platforms.
Playing with Parallax
Parallax web design is a visual effect that adds depth and illusion of movement to flat and static web pages. It can also be used to highlight USPs, drive attention to your site’s calls to action, and more importantly, enhance the user experience. However, careful planning should go into its implementation, otherwise, it can quickly lead to sensory overload and confuse your users.