What Is Parallax Web Design?
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What Is Parallax Web Design?

By Mainak Biswas January 15, 2014 - 1,437 views

If you have played video games, you would have heard the parallax effect. It is a 2-dimensional effect that is caused by using different background images and movement speeds in order to create a sort of illusion that enhances depth perception.

This illusion is experienced during game play. By making the background of the video game proceed slower so that the foreground seems further away. Even in a parallax website, the same concept holds good. The background images of a website move at different speeds so that the rest of the page appears as if they have a depth perception. This visual effect can be used to create a number of creative formations to enhance online storytelling.

The sense of depth perception is an illusion and is not actually caused. This helps web designers to create different websites for different audiences, sometimes with same layout, format and design. It is indeed a great way to enhance an existing website and appeal to the younger crowds, especially children and adolescents. Adults may not be very impressed with this technique and must be carefully used thus.

Here are some of the applications of parallax design:

• Page depth and animation
Without using 3-dimensional techniques, one can create the illusion of depth using parallax design. It is a great way to promote certain products that are specifically targeted at youngsters. It helps them to draw parallels between your product and the video games they may often play. It is sometimes considered one of the easiest ways to design children’s websites.

• Enhance storytelling
Parallax website design enhances storytelling. This ensures that a product’s conceptualization and its manufacturing can be explained, if need be, in the form of a story. It can also be used to animate certain aspects of your company’s story telling which otherwise cannot be explained properly with the help of pure text.

• Increase the duration of page visits
When people scroll along parallax websites, they will end up spending a longer time on the websites. This enhances page visit durations and ultimately, your ROI. In order to experience the parallax effect, they will have to scroll down the entire length of the page, which also enhances page visit duration.

• Enhance call to action
Parallax website design is a great way to enhance call to action pages. As there is already a visual element that is ‘sticky’, people will spend more time on the websites and eventually click on the call to action button as well.

• Increase interaction
Parallax is an inexpensive and effective method to increase interactive viewing. While there are several methods to increase interaction, parallax can be often easier than the others and be time and cost effective.

All that being said, there are several disadvantages of parallax website design. Some of them are:

• Bad SEO
Search engine optimization takes a hit when we use parallax design. Parallax websites are not SEO-friendly and do not appear in the search results as often as plain websites. It will have only one set of meta information, one URL and one h1 tag. This leads to an ineffective usage of existing SEO features

• Pages load slowly
The idea of parallax website design is to juxtapose several images in the background. While this method can create a great visual illusion, it can increase the time of loading of a page. This may unnecessarily annoy busy visitors who will leave without waiting for it to load completely.

• Older users may get annoyed
Parallax website design is great for websites that are meant for children. Older users may find the technique annoying and may not take your website seriously. Whle it is great for products that are aimed at youngsters, you may not want to create a corporate website with parallax website.

One must always use web design techniques appropriately and ensure that they are targeted for the right target audience. What is good for children will not be good for adults, and what is good for adults may bore children a lot. Thus, you will need to do some groundwork before deciding on unconventional visual effects which can increase page loading time, cause unnecessary distraction and cause SEO-related problems. However, if you know what you are doing and are aware of its downsides, parallax web design can be a great way to enhance popularity among youngsters.

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