What is Parallax? Parallax scrolling is when the foreground elements move at a faster rate than the background of a web page, this creates a 3D effect as the user scrolls down the website. When used correctly Parallax design can provide an animated depth to the website, leaving the user with a memorable impression of the stimulating design. Does that sound familiar? You might know what Parallax scrolling is without realizing it.
How you incorporate Parallax into your website depends on how your website was built and who with/by. For example, if your website is CSS built you will need to add specific code to enable Parallax, however, if your website is built on an HTML platform such as Wix, then it will be much easier to add as self-build platforms tend to have a simple change in your sites settings.
What is good about Parallax scrolling?
Engaging Storytelling – Designers can set out the way they tell a brand’s story in interactive sections with Parallax, allowing users to scroll at their own pace and truly immerse themselves in the brand’s story. This results in users becoming in charge of their own engagement with your website, rather than being sold your story.
Aesthetic – Websites that feature Parallax are often made to give the user an immersive experience. Bold text against a slow-moving, large image of a sweeping landscape can be a truly impressive design when executed well.
What should you be mindful of before incorporating Parallax into your web design?
Slow Loading – Some websites that have Parallax enabled take time to load which could cause negative user experience with your site visitors. In this case, it is usually a good idea to check whether you have the best hosting provider to allow you the flexibility of good design. You can also keep your loading times down by ensuring that your integrated apps are kept up to date and properly managed. Keep your apps organised with a cloud based iPaas.
Browsers – Since the display of website elements vary browser to browser, what might look aligned in Safari could be out of place in Chrome. For a smooth Parallax effect, it’s important to have all your elements aligned correctly so this might take some time to get right.
SEO – For best SEO results, most websites that do well are designed with several content-rich pages. Most Parallax sites display their content over one or two pages which means incorporating more headers into your page whereas most sites have one main header per page. Less pages also mean more keywords on one page so ensure that you plan out the keywords of your content early on.
Image Quality – Background images used in Parallax scrolling will be stretched to the full width of the screen, always ensure that your images are of high quality if you are using this feature.
How can you incorporate it into your website?
The background is only one part of creating a truly creative Parallax experience. Why not try layering your elements by mixing and over-laying content and mixing up your colours and fonts.
How you incorporate Parallax scrolling into your web design will be dependant on how your website has been built, or rather where.
Wix – Wix allows you to create multi-layered Parallax elements by simply changing the scrolling settings and using hover elements in your editor. Wix is great if you have self-built your website and you want to play with the bounds of Parallax design without using code.
Squarespace & Shopify – Both of these platforms offer themes with Parallax already built-in. You simply need to enable Parallax scrolling, then you can customize content to heighten your website visitors’ experiences.
WordPress – There are many WordPress themes that come with Parallax already built-in. If any of those don’t take your fancy you can alternatively use a Parallax effect plugin, or you can use CSS to add the feature to your website. Keep in mind that this method will require you to have some knowledge of HTML/CSS. You can also use code to customize your Parallax design.
Does it work on mobile sites?
The short answer is yes and no. Designers have reported that Parallax scrolling may work on certain devices but by and large it does not work on most mobile and tablet sites.
How does it impact user experience?
A study conducted by Purdue University, in 2013, found that while “parallax scrolling enhanced certain aspects of the user experience, it did not necessarily improve the overall user experience.” So, while it may not enrich the functionality of your website, it may provide users with an enriched experience of design and storytelling.