Parallax: the Good, the Bad and the Flashy

One of the most implemented and trending web design trends right now is parallax design. Parallax design is a design that utilizes background images in a way that creates a visual effect. It is most commonly used in long pages where the content unfolds. As the user scrolls down the page, images change as if it’s an interactive visual presentation or almost like a comic book.

Used as a point of reference to align oneself when observing more distant objects, parallax was built from the multiplane camera technique and was used in classic animation since the 1930s.

Companies are using this design method on the websites to showcase the products, display engaging content, and tell a visual story. And there are plenty of reasons why.

The Upside

  • This design can really wow users and get them committed to your content.
  • It is incredibly engaging because of the simple fact that a commitment device (the scrolling) is used to unfold the content.
  • Since it also uses long pages, many companies have used this design with a story telling angle with great success.
  • Creating dimension through a layering effect, it enhances the illusion of depth and draws viewers’ attention. Allowing for the creation of a charismatic, interactive user experience, with the potential to improve overall visual appeal, this method has blasted the web design industry forward.

The Downside

  • Parallax can hurt the SEO of a page. Skeptical users are concerned on its impact on SEO because of the minimized amount of pages and the very nature of the site makes it difficult to amp up keywords and create links, possibly causing slower loading times.
  • Limits ability to push competitors out of the Search Engine Result Page (SERP). Sites that are content rich and multi-paged can occupy two or three positions in a SERP with an index page and child pages that relate to the search query.
  • Doesn’t work well on mobile formats. That doesn’t really matter since most companies are using it for pages that are trying to sell an idea or product. There are, however, a few companies that have used it as a content marketing strategy. The visual content format makes it very similar in concept to infographics.

Like any application that gains quick popularity becomes trendy, parallax scrolling has become a topic of design discussion between prospective clients, designers and developers. When properly implemented, parallax takes a narrative approach to guide visitors through the site, encouraging users to scroll through the entire page and provoking curiosity.

Vanessa Petersen

As Executive Director of Brand Strategy based in ArtVersion’s Portland office, Vanessa manages both national and West Coast accounts. She brings with her a passion for strategy with extensive experience in creative marketing, brand growth and development. She is a true advocate of storytelling and brand building from the inside out, and her keen knowledge of the marketplace, trend patterns and usability lead her to identify opportunities that can inspire powerful design strategies.

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