“Above the fold” days are long gone. But then, what’s the current trend? Well, what was once considered a taboo is becoming more and more common lately: Parallax Websites!
The thumb rule of creating any good website is providing a great user experience; and the essence of a great UI comes with the right balance of usability and aesthetics; which, however, can be tricky.
A multi-page website generally focuses more on information and less on appearance, but that’s where Parallax Websites come into play!
Parallax Websites offers Parallax Scrolling; an amazing feature that eliminates the need to sacrifice aesthetics over usability. These websites provide a great user interface and work really well on mobile devices.
Before we jump onto the pros and cons of a Parallax website, let’s understand what they really are.
What’s a Parallax Design?
According to the Oxford Dictionaries, Parallax means “The effect whereby the position or direction of an object appears to differ when viewed from different positions, e.g. through the viewfinder and the lens of a camera.”
That said, a Parallax website uses multiple layers of backgrounds, moving at different speeds to convey an illusion of depth (3D) in a 2D space. The concept itself is nothing new but has gained momentum in the recent years.
The Parallax effect can be traced back to Super Mario Bros 3 game on Super Nintendo; the game was launched way back in 1988. All the elements in the game, be it clouds, curved trees, flying ships or cannons flew at different speeds. The variation in speeds and time gave an illusion of depth on a 2D platform.
How does Parallax works?
Parallax websites work on parallax scrolling. Wait! Now, what’s that?
Well, Parallax scrolling is an amazing effect using which, the image in the background moves slowly as compared to the content in the foreground; creating an amazing 3D impression.
Why go for a Parallax Website?
If you’re a small business planning to go online or an established brand in a creative field, either ways, it’s indispensable to provide your user the best experience. A user generally craves for something new and a Parallax website is a must to suit the modern day website criteria.
But apart from that, here are 5 major reasons for Why your business should have a Parallax Website:
#1: Mobile Friendly
In the past few years, the number of mobile users has surpassed the number of PC users. This implies that an increasing number of people are connecting to the internet via their mobile devices.
Now when you’re using the internet or visiting a web page on a touchscreen smartphone, scrolling is something very natural and intuitive movement. That said, a Parallax website is ideal than a multi-page website (Obviously, scrolling is a better experience than clicking on a teeny-tiny link on a web page).
#2: Better Storytelling Experience
Storytelling and multi-page websites don’t generally go along. A visitor will most probably lose his interest while reading a story that has been split into various pages. But that’s not the case when it comes to Parallax websites!
Parallax scrolling offers a linear and a smooth approach to storytelling. It also offers tons of animations that attract a user’s attention and keep him engaged on a web page.
#3: Need not to be content rich
Parallax websites are great for any business with a paucity of content. Why? For a developer isn’t bound to make 10-15 content-rich web pages. One page explanation for a single product is more than enough!
#4: A snappy experience
We live in a society that’s rich in almost every aspect of life except one: Time. In this fast-moving world, we can’t wait for anything; least of all a new web page to load. This is where Parallax websites come into play! They are way quicker than a multi-page website.
Moreover, these websites are snappy as the brand has to scrutinize its message and unique selling points onto a single web page. Thanks to that, a brand is also able to express its message in a much clear and powerful manner.
#5: Less Bounce Rate
Thanks to the one-page design, cool animations, and better presentation, Parallax significantly reduces the bounce rate of a website; the bounce rate is directly proportional to a website’s ranking. That said, the lower the bounce rate, the higher is the ranking.
And for the people who don’t know what’s a bounce rate is: “It’s the number of visitors who click the back button before going through the content on the page they landed or checking out any other page on your website. “
#6: Better User Engagement
As stated above in #2, Parallax websites are great for storytelling. A Parallax basically provokes a user’s curiosity for what’s next (as these websites have different layers). In order to know more about the product/service, a user would generally like to scroll to the end of a web page; this in turn, increases a user’s engagement.
Plus Point: “An increased user engagement significantly improves your website’s search engine ranking”.
Well, these were some major advantages of a Parallax website. But just like advantages, everything has some disadvantages too. Parallax websites are no different.
Downsides of a Parallax Website
#1: Longer load time
All the content, images, and videos exist on the very same page in a Parallax website; this obviously affects a website’s load time. An increase in load time will also increase the bounce rate.
But it’s still possible to keep a user engaged on a website. How? By adding an entertaining loading page!
For example, the twitter loading page suggests the users to grab a coffee or read a random Wikipedia article
#2: Navigation Issues
One major problem with Parallax websites is navigation. Searching for a specific piece of information or going back to the previous content can be a little annoying.
To maintain a good UX and avoid any sort of hassle, one can simply code the pages into the scrollbar. Also, it’s highly recommended to use sticky footer and header for better navigability.
#3: Scroll fatigue
Scrolling down for a while can be fun, but after a while, a user might get frustrated and leave a website. Why? For he might be looking for a specific information and probably couldn’t locate it.
To avoid any such problem, one is advised to run a few tests and see at what level the scroll fatigue actually sets in. Doing so, he can make adequate changes and prevent a user from leaving the website.
#4: Not suitable for blogs
Everybody loves a blog and it’s one of the vital components of any business! However, handling a blog on a Parallax website might sound like a good option but is actually challenging.
A blog is one of the vital components of any business. That said, one should opt for a web design that combines the elements of both the mixed and parallax website, rather than going for a strict Parallax scrolling website design.
Whatever may be the advantages and disadvantages, Parallax websites are in the mainstream. A present shift towards Storytelling also makes them suitable for most of the upcoming businesses.
So far, we’ve gone through almost all the major aspects of a Parallax Website. Here are some quick tips to make a Parallax website look nothing but awesome!
Tips For Making An Awesome Parallax Website
☛ Tell your user to scroll
There’s an old saying- “First impression is the last impression”. That said, put your best efforts and creativity while designing “above the fold” area. Also, don’t forget to include a symbol asking your visitors to scroll down!
☛ Take care of the navigation menu
A user needs to be aware of his position while browsing a web page. While designing a Parallax website, a developer should make sure to use sticky menu that stays at a consistent location at all times (it’ll help in navigating and also show the current location of a user).
☛ Include “Jump-to” options
One of the major problems in such websites is disorientation. To avoid that, one should consider including “Jump-to” options. These options will allow a user to jump either to the next/previous page or at the starting of the content.
☛ Optimize the page-load time
As discussed above, such websites generally take more time to load than any other multi-page website. The problem can be solved either by adding an entertaining load time animation or by allowing the user to access the basic information quickly.
☛ Make use of “Parallax Effect”
We have already discussed the Parallax effect and its advantages. But anyway, this effect allows an immersive three-dimensional experience to the users and is very helpful in keeping them engaged on a web page.
The online space is growing dynamically every day and so are a user’s expectations in regards to a website. Parallax website design won’t be implemented by all the websites online, but they are surely the key to a better future of web designing.
The best part, Parallax websites addresses the problem of usability vs. aesthetics.
Here are some websites with aesthetically pleasing Parallax designs. Check them out, get inspired and create one for your business today!
Websites with amazing Parallax Scrolling
#1. The Boat
#3. Alquimia WRG
#4. NASA Prospect
#5. Lexus Asia
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