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Parallax in Web Design

9th September 2015

Parallax scrolling web design has become more popular in the last few years and it takes user experience to a brand new level in terms of interactions. Parallax design allows for the background move at a different rate to other elements on the page. Crush take a closer look at what it is and what it can do.

The term parallax is used to describe the visual effect that occurs in 2D side-scrolling games where different background movement speeds created an optical illusion and created depth during play. It usually worked through making the background move more slowly than the foreground to create the illusion of it being further away and it is these same principles apply to parallax web design. Sites have a background which moves at a different speed to the rest of the page which creates a profound effect and lends itself perfectly to many creative web applications and ideas.

Benefits and Opportunities

Parallax web design is great for creating an immediate impact and powerful first impression. It is also a great tool if your website takes a storytelling approach and you want to guide your visitors through your website through the use of graphics and motion. Parallax also provokes curiosity and reinforces your commitment to interacting and engaging with your customers. You can also use parallax design to direct your customers straight to your call to action.

Drawbacks of Parallax Design

There are lots of benefits of choosing parallax web design but it is important to consider the drawbacks too. One of the key issues is SEO which takes a significant hit as each parallax designed page can only features a single h1 tag, a single URL and a single set of meta data. The number of images and graphics on the page can also effect load time and parallax design often doesn’t work responsively or effectively on mobile devices.

Succeeding with Parallax Design

If you do decide that the effect of parallax design will work for your website then it’s important you do it successfully and here are a couple of pointers for ensuring your design has the impact you’re looking for:

1.    Keep it simple – overdoing it will make your website lag and confuse visitors
2.    Use it to tell an effective visual story
3.    Use layering to create depth and inject a bit of fun
4.    Keep older browsers and mobile users in mind with clear direction and responsive pages for their benefit
5.    Emphasis your call to action above all else, ensuring the visitor reaches the right end point

Parallax design is still a great and positive surprise when websites use it as he hasn’t become the norm just yet so if you want to create a memorable first impression, consider it for your next redesign.

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