Parallax scrolling is defined as a site on which the background image scrolls faster than the foreground, creating the impression of depth. That rigid definition is at the root of most of the myths about parallax: it’s not suitable for multiple pages, it’s not suitable for large sites, it’s unusable on mobile, it’s a dated trend, it’s bad for usability, users don’t like it, it’s bad for SEO, I could go on…
A better definition would be: Parallax scrolling is a site on which the elements scroll at different speeds creating a dynamic effect.
Like anything, parallax scrolling is bad for a website when it’s done badly. But so many sites do parallax well.
The parallax trend of a couple of years ago wasn’t really about parallax, it was about flat illustrations, scrolling forever to get to content, single-page sites with linear narratives. Those user experiences have dated, but parallax itself hasn’t because scrolling on the Web is natural.
Modern parallax degrades gracefully, lazy loads elements, and contributes positively to user experience. Users need visual feedback for their interactions, and parallax scrolling is the perfect way to feedback on the Web’s most common interaction, scrolling.
One of the most common implementations of parallax scrolling is header parallax. Once your eyes see depth, it’s hard to unsee it, so to create the classic impression of depth, you need only introduce it in the header. Leaving the rest of your content to scroll normally.
Tim de Graag
Milan Design Week
Bill Byron Wines
Parallax is often used to improve UX, by keeping text content front and center while supporting content like images scroll past the user.
I Like Photo
Like the former riot grrrl whose sole nod to her teenage years is an over-enthusiasm for eyeliner on a Saturday night, parallax scrolling has grown up. Subtle parallax effects applied to a few elements create an elegant browsing experience that charms and engages the user.
You Gotta Love Frontend
Fixed point parallax
Fixed-point parallax is ideal for keeping the focus on your primary content. This kind of parallax is often achievable with CSS alone and produces efficient and functional sites. It’s an ideal technique for product demos.
The classic, full on, parallax experience is still being produced. There are dozens of sites using it to great effect. Parallax is far beyond a trend now, it’s a natural effect on the Web, as these sites show.
The Light Phone