Parallax seems to be all the rage in web design since the past few years. Noticing this trend, CyberChimps’ released a Parallax WordPress Theme way back in 2014. Parallax design enhances user experience through enhanced visual interactivity. If used well, parallax web design can create some visually stunning pages that users enjoy browsing.
The question is what is parallax really?
In this post, we’re going to discuss what parallax is and why it has taken the web design world by storm.
What Is Parallax Web Design?
Parallax is a web design technique that allows components of a web page to move at varying speeds when a user scrolls.
In simple words, Parallax Scrolling is typically used in websites to say set up a background image or video. When a user scrolls down the website, this background moves at a different speed as compared to the rest of the website. So most WordPress themes that use this parallax scrolling effect are referred to as Parallax Themes.
No doubt this phenomenon creates an appealing visual effect, and it’s no surprise that many web designs are now incorporating it.
How It Works
While parallax is relatively new in web design, the technique has been around for many years and has been applied in various applications. Most notably, parallax scrolling was and is still widely used in gaming applications to create 2-dimensional side scrolling effects.
The effect is achieved by creating a perspective shift in the way an observer views an object. When creating a parallax effect, the aim is to create multiple viewpoints from which you can observe an object against a far-flung background.
Methods for Creating a Parallax Website
Parallax scrolling can be achieved through a couple of methods.
Raster: This method entails compositing and refreshing pixel lines in an image in a top to bottom order. A small delay is introduced between drawing individual lines.
Layers Method: In this method, multiple layers are defined and made to move vertically or horizontally while scrolling at different speeds. Layer movement may be automatic or user-controlled.
Pattern Manipulation: This method creates parallax by floating multiple screens over repeated backgrounds.
Sprite: This method entails compositing various images into one that’s made of pseudo-layers. By positioning the image at different angles, only one part of it will be visible. This method also creates a 3-dimensional effect on flat images.
Use In Web Design
As mentioned previously, parallax web design isn’t a new technique. It’s been used for many years now but has only gained popularity within the web design arena in recent years.
Why Use Parallax Web Design For Your Site?
Without a doubt, parallax web design can greatly add visual appeal to your website if properly implemented. Here is why you ought to use it.
- Instantly wow website visitors with some nice effects and animation.
- Guide your visitors through the different parts of the site in an engaging way.
- Increase time spent on your website since most visitors will scroll through to the bottom of the page until the animations end.
- Catch visitors’ attention in a powerful way. Good if you have a CTA area on your homepage.
- Easily direct visitors wherever you want them to go.
Why You Should Think Twice Before Using Parallax
Like many things in web design, parallax has benefits as well as disadvantages. Before you think about applying it in a web project, think about these downsides.
- When used on a single page website, your SEO will definitely take a hit. You can only have one set of meta info and basically one H1 and URL to use for SEO.
- If not properly implemented, parallax can cause issues for your website. At the very least, expect slow page loading times.
Thousands of websites are now using the parallax technique to create stunning visual effects. You’re most likely to see it on one-page websites, but the technique can be used on any site.
Here is a very brief list of websites showcasing parallax in action:
Parallax WordPress Theme By CyberChimps
The Hero is a responsive Parallax WordPress theme created by ThemeTrust. It prominently features parallax effects on the main homepage banner. Specifically, you will see this effect first-hand as you scroll down the page; the main banner text moves at a slightly slower speed than the rest of the page before it completely fades.
There’s a little parallax effect in action here that requires user interaction. In fact, you may not notice unless you move the cursor of your mouse sideways over the clouds on top of the homepage.
Others to check out:
Here are some more examples of parallax design websites.
So what is the future of Parallax Design?
Parallax web design is generally good for your website depending on how it is implemented. Overall, it increases the visual appeal of web pages and is especially effective when used to tell a story. There are potential downsides to using parallax, but if you keep them in mind and try to avoid them during implementation, you can increase visitor engagement on your site.
Do you use parallax on your website or do you know of any particularly outstanding parallax website? Please share in the comments.