Is Parallax Right for Your Website?

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Is Parallax Right for Your Website?

New design elements excite users, and a trend that has built up steam will start to pop up on even established websites. However, our job here at SiteWired is to provide our clients with cutting edge websites with functionality in mind. 

Parallax scrolling in web design borrows the term from animation and video game techniques. Two images scroll at different speeds to provide an illusion of depth between the two planes. Now, it normally refers to any website that displays most of its content in a single web page where the scrolling occurs vertically. Navigation that was traditionally done through toolbars and menus, but on a parallax site the navigation menu redirects a user to a heading further down the same page.

The design aspect of parallax scrolling can be truly stunning. Design teams have much more freedom and opportunities for creativity utilizing large background images with high-resolution foreground pictures and text. In a way, the parallax design makes it easier to tell a "story" or provide some sort of linear narrative through a brand's products and company image.

What about the user and functionality?

Large companies and websites have been incorporating parallax designs. While you might expect to see it on a brand website for Nike, it's also beginning to make its way into traditional layouts on Reuters and other news sites. Denver web development and design teams are using parallax layouts, especially when it comes to mobile sites. It's much easier for an iPhone user to navigate simply by scrolling instead of zooming in on small navigation bars.

But it really is time to take a step back from all the hype and analyze any benefits the user experiences while navigating a parallax site.

The Pitfalls of a Vertical Design

First and foremost, a parallax design is visual in nature. Large images and videos always require more bandwidth and loading times. Take a look at some of the biggest parallax websites out there, and you'll immediately notice that the initial loading time is much longer than a traditional site with navigation bars. Multiple images, flash galleries, and java applets all add up to a slow experience. With this design, you've already alienated any users with less-than-ideal internet connections, mobile devices, and aging computer hardware.

Being so heavily reliant on images also takes away from the heart of comprehensive websites—written content. Larger volumes of content on your website give you multiple opportunities to delve into search engine optimization, and it gives your customers the information they are seeking. Wading through oceans of text on a single page that may not even be relevant to a users interests is bad design. It also makes your backlinks and paid advertising far less effective. It's infinitely more difficult to set up links that send a user directly to the product or information your marketing campaign is trying to target.

Find the Design that's Right for You

Focus on web design in Denver that fits your company's image and needs. If you're looking for a bright, eye-catching design that is light on content, then a parallax design may be just what you're looking for. Don't get caught up in the latest trend, however, if it's at odds with your marketing and branding aims. Jumping on the parallax bandwagon may do more harm than good.