The essential ingredients for perfect parallax UX

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December 13, 2013
The essential ingredients for perfect parallax UX.

thumbnailWith so many web technologies, platforms and programming languages, web designers and developers are still searching for new opportunities to engage visitors and turn them into regular clients.

There are all sorts of options for engaging users, but one of the most popular is parallax scrolling. Parallax scrolling uses a script to move elements on a webpage at different rates, creating the impression of depth.

If you like forced perspective photography you will probably like Parallax scrolling websites too. The effect can produce very heavy sites, but used properly it does create a spectacular and engaging visual effect.

The weight of parallax sites

The first obstacle when considering a parallax website is their large file size and the resulting increase in page load time. This is because you're typically loading far more on a single page than you normally would.

The more you load, the heavier the page. For this reason parallax sites are best suited to situations when the user is willing to wait a little longer for information.

Parallax and SEO

If you stay informed about industry news you probably know that search engines (especially Google) regularly toughen their requirements for on-page optimization. The process of searching for information becomes more user-friendly but it doesn't always coincide with site owners' plans and abilities.

Currently, if you prefer one-page Parallax scrolling website you'll have to optimize it for only one keyword. At the same time regular websites can optimize each page for a separate keyword/phrase. Consequently thoughtful separation of the home page can be quite effective, but you need to ensure that the content you're designing for is promotable under a very narrow range of keywords.

Mobile parallax

You can't escape the mobile web any longer, and that's as true for parallax sites as any other. If you choose to use a parallax effect, you need to ensure that you're translating the effect to mobiles properly.

Fortunately there are plenty of different libraries and scripts that help display pages with Parallax scrolling on mobile devices in a native way, some of my favourites are iScroll 4, Zynga Scroller, Stellar.js, and Scrollability.

Parallax scrolling and UX

Parallax sites are extremely engaging and do a great job of reducing a site's bounce rate — but that only happens if you keep the the size down and ensure that the effect works correctly on mobiles.

Parallax sites allow us to tell stories, and those stories are a great way to engage visitors. Below we've gathered together some of the best examples of parallax sites, all of which have avoided the pitfalls above to successfully deploy their projects.

Michelle Lana


Every Last Drop


FK Agency


Wild Life




Von Dutch


CR-V Honda


Sonia Rykiel


Atlantis World's Fair


Activate Drinks




Tokio Lab


Head To Heart




Geze Bewegt


Cultural Solutions


The White House Iraq timeline








Health Service Payouts


Netlash bSeen






Mario Cart Wii




Soleir Noir 2012


Drug Treatment


NH Hotels


Divine Write




Vita Frute Cocktails




Have you created a parallax site? Which of these sites is your favorite? Let us know in the comments.

WDD Staff

WDD staff are proud to be able to bring you this daily blog about web design and development. If there's something you think we should be talking about let us know @DesignerDepot.

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