Just a few years ago, web developers came to an age of mobile responsive website design that allowed a unified code for PC driven and mobile driven displays. It was the dawn of a new era for web development offering a whole new realm of possibilities over a decade in the making. Some in the industry saw HTML5 as an evolutionary jump that wouldn’t be rivaled for another decade.
Now after only a couple of years, the industry has been exposed to the growing popularity of parallax design. Parallax website design is an effect that displays the background of a website layout at a different rate as the foreground when scrolling up or down. It creates a feel of interactivity with many story-telling implications. Many are calling it the next step in user experience.
The process of designing with parallax scrolling involves creating multiple layers of content and graphics for a webpage. The developer then varies the speed at which each layer displays as the user scrolls down. The designer can have elements of graphics and text move in and out of screen at will to help illustrate a point, give depth to a story, or create deeper dimension to the look of a page.
The experience of parallax can provide many benefits. Firstly, it presents a wow factor to visitors with an element of user-controlled animation, which then aids in storytelling, which boosts page visit times through inciting curiosity. The experience can also be used to guide viewers to a call-to-action.
There is always a downside when dealing with bleeding edge technology and parallax is not exempt. The most critical negative implication of parallax design is its effect on search engine optimization (SEO). Some of these include:
Slow load times due to a high volume of graphics required for the effect.
Extended page lengths, which reduce the amount of meta information utilized by a single URL.
Lack of internal links because of the reduced page count.
Incompatibility with mobile responsive design.
If a company can afford the SEO downsides of parallax design, they still want to make sure they implement it correctly to get the full benefits of the effect. One tip is to make sure to not overdo it. Motion sickness is a real thing for many people and over busyness scares the common user away to other less intimidating sites. The best approach is to use parallax to tell stories or illustrate processes. Try to keep the experience light and fun with emphasis on your ultimate call-to-action. The key is to find a way the effect can heighten the already existing experience of your site. If the addition of parallax fails to improve your message, leave it out entirely. Lastly, make sure you account for older browsers, and don’t forget your mobile users.
Parallax is a cool gadget and for larger corporations, a wonderful entertainment tool. For most small businesses, parallax can be utilized with restraint to help deepen their story, but should not become the center point of their on-line presence. The downsides at this time are too great for discussion herein, but these highlights should give you a great start.