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The Parallax Scrolling Effect in Website Design

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In the past, the prevailing opinion in the world of web design was that websites should be designed in such a way that scrolling is kept to a minimum, with only the most important information displayed upfront. Nowadays, things are drastically different.

When it comes to scrolling websites, users are used to scrolling right down to the end of the page to get all the information. Google also gives preference to long scroll websites, therefore it’s necessary to persuade users to scroll by creating experiences that are one of a kind.

This is where parallax web design, also known as parallax scrolling, comes in. So what exactly is parallax scrolling? It is the layered method of moving various elements on your screen through scrolling. During this kind of scrolling whatever’s placed in the site’s foreground moves at a faster pace than whatever’s in the background.

Parallax design is a key player in user experience design thanks to it being able to enhance narration and add depth.


Integrating parallax scrolling will allow you to achieve and solve numerous goals, for example:

  • Providing visitors with a unique portfolio
  • Focusing action on forms or CTAs
  •  Giving images that are usually inanimate some natural movement

Let’s view some of the best parallax scrolling examples that should be kept in mind while creating parallax web designs.

Check whether there’s a story behind the website

Keep Your Website

Parallax scrolling should be used for storytelling. It doesn’t need to win the Best Screenplay Oscar, but it should attract users’ attention with some kind of moral, message, or a final conclusion.

Storytelling websites can be compared to dynamic infographics. This is what makes parallax design so beautiful – many dynamic features can be found in one layout. It also works for various website formats, be that an agency, portfolio, or a landing page for a corporation.

The Beauty of Brewing is a website whose purpose is to promote Heineken’s products (since they own the site). However, the page doesn’t scream promotion thanks to its formal appearance.


Follow The Poppy uses a similar format, illustrating scenes and clarifying background details regarding The British Royal Legion through vector graphics.


Storytelling websites are always the best websites. Parallax is simply a tool to dress up the website’s content.



Keep your website’s main objective in mind


It’s not that difficult to go overboard with improving the look of a parallax scrolling website. However, parallax design should simply assist you in achieving the main objectives of your website, e.g. disseminating content, selling products, or creating leads. Too much or aimless parallax will hinder you in achieving your goals.

Parallax scrolling should guide users towards certain paths and actions. design should increase the chances of users following desired paths and carrying out desired actions. A good example of a parallax website is that of boxer shorts designer A-dam: as you scroll through the website, elements will slide into your view, but the key action buttons are pinned to the page’s footer and follow you as you scroll.



Don’t go overboard


Regarding the question of how much parallax effect should be used in the length of your page or in your web design, there’s no one size fits all answer. You need to know what your users want and refrain from overusing floating elements.

Users quickly grow tired of moving elements. If too many things are moving or they’re moving too fast, these things can be difficult to look at and we won’t be able to focus on the content. The best parallax websites load quickly and are easily scrollable without limiting your user experience.

Parallax design can also be deceptive, as users will instinctively scroll down, so be wary of those parallax effects where scrolling isn’t a trigger.

Test your prototyped parallax design on real users


Your users might be distracted or perhaps even put off by your parallax website, depending on who your target audience is. This is why you need to test it out on smaller groups and utilize their feedback before making any larger UI changes.User-testing experience has established that parallax designs have not shown to improve usability; there are even instances of users becoming fed up rather quickly.Nobody wants that, therefore you need to run in-depth tests on your prototypes.

Factor In Web Page Load Speed


The success of parallax scrolling depends on both Javascript and CSS. They are vital in predicting the position of every on-screen element.

Even with the technological advancements of today, this can still take a toll on your Internet connection and browser. Too much parallax and your website will be so slow that won’t just annoy your users, but your page’s ranking will also suffer.

Developers and web designers can get their pages to perform better and load at a higher speed thanks to these workarounds:



Request Animation Frame Callback


This action informs your browser of animation that must be performed and requires it to calculate the elements’ positions before the user can scroll down.

This function gets rid of compulsory page updates brought on by any scrolling action.

3D Transformations


The feature works by generating new layers for those elements to which 3D transformations are applied.

Rely more on CSS


The CSS necessary for parallax scrolling is reasonably light and basic. By using more CSS and less Javascript we’re able to use the least amount of external script as possible, which in turn leads to the page loading faster.



Take Your Web User’s Bandwidth Into Account


The parallax effect sometimes leads to web design that features a lot of images. Browsers need more time to download numerous large images. Users that don’t have such fast Internet, as well as mobile data users, can be negatively affected by this.

It’s a well-known fact that users give up if it takes more than a couple of seconds for a page to load. This is why web designers need to be creative in managing all these images, and they need to ensure fast-loading pages.

If youdidn’t use a content management system (CMS), which makes room for external services (e.g. Smushit), to create your website, you can turn off parallax scrolling on a per-user basis whenever there’s a slow connection detected.

This can be compared to the method applied to responsive website design.

When a tablet or mobile users are detected, the website’s static version will load instead of its parallax version. This brings me to how parallax functions with mobile devices.

Guide visitors through


Users may grow tired of animations after a while. This is why you need to entice them with something intriguing.

While scrolling through your parallax websites, users need to be constantly aware of your site’s main objective without wondering about where they are and what needs to be done.



Guide your visitors’ line of sight


Attract attention towards content that might be low-key, but also happens to be of importance.

Parallax scrolling effect can also assist you in guiding the line of sight of your website’s visitors.

Take a look at Guy Vernes‘s website, where a small character on the left guides your line of sight towards the footer information on your right-hand side. The footer wouldn’t stand out were it not for this animation, but this way the user’s attention goes straight to it.



Consider How Parallax Scrolling Performs on Mobile Devices


Mobile browsers limit scrolling activities, thus hindering the appearance of parallax effects. Good web designers will be one step ahead and have a back-up static version of the website which will disable parallax scrolling whenever mobile devices are detected.

However, some daring web designers have come up with workarounds that mimic parallax scrolling on mobile devices with the help of CSS3 transformations.

This method allows us to emulate the full experience of parallax scrolling that is available for our desktop users. Scrolling libraries such as Zynga Scroller, Scrollability, and iScroll, which are all touchscreen-based, mimic parallax scrolling on mobile devices.

Consider The Effect of Parallax Web Design on SEO


A parallax website is often viewed as a single page scrolling website. SEOs face the following obstacle: all of the website’s keywords are on one page, which can lead to their cannibalization.

Creating a parallax website without compromising good SEO practices can be achieved in several ways.

The most effective and common way is developing a multipage website with subtle parallax features, or perhaps only including parallax scrolling on certain pages, enabling you to feature in-depth content elsewhere so that your keywords are targeted.

Another good option is to put jQuery’s ‘pushState’ function to good use by splitting your single parallax page into indexable sections. Each of these sections receives its own URL and meta-content.

This is a highly-effective option because one single page can be indexed countless times.

An easy method is to use a parallax landing page or homepage, with your information pages being static and their URLs SEO-friendly.



Background Motion Graphics


A parallax website is often seen as a single scroll website that uses dynamic scrolling actions. However, parallax’s definition has more in common with false movement or motion, much like a deceptive design state.

A parallax background leads to a parallax effect and is suitable for all kinds of layouts. Background motion creates a true parallax effect which can be applied onto any style of layout. While scrolling down the page graphics and background move together, entering a transition from a different page area. A good example of this is the Fireworx Creative homepage.

Each section of content has some background content that animates as you scroll down. This is a popular version of parallaxing as it achieves both design enhancement and attention capturing.

Surprise your visitors


Use an easter egg to surprise your visitors.

Parallax scrolling can also be used as a method of surprising your visitors. The Japanese website of the Nissan Notetells the car’s entire story as you scroll down.

This on its own is already a unique experience, but at the end of the page there’s a link that says: “Try Reverse!” You’re automatically taken back to the top of the page, with a different version of the story appearing before your eyes.



Build your website on the interaction


Ensure a unique experience by building your design on the interaction.

Your design can also be built on top of your parallax scroll. By joining together your design with user engagement your website is born.

The website of creative agency Tokio Lab relies heavily ontypography in an appealing way. As you scroll down, the site is built up word by word.

The website would wind up with the same look even if there was no parallax effect, but there would be nothing extraordinary about it.

Add some sphere to your product


Draw attention to your products and surround them with a particular sphere. and create a certain sphere around your products.



Create the Illusion of Depth


There are certain parallax layouts which attempt to emulate depth on a flat 2D monitor. This is achieved through layering elements on the page.

The parallax design takeaway


Parallax scrolling will vastly improve your website’s visual appeal if you use it the right way. It will also do wonders for user experience, garnering the attention of users thanks to captivating storytelling.

Albert Ślusarczyk
Albert Ślusarczyk
As the co-creator of Be Theme, I am a strong believer in designing with care and patience. I pour my energy, time & knowledge into perfecting the theme for our 195,000+ customers.

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