What Is Parallax Web Design? – Definitions, Tips & Considerations

What Is Parallax Web Design? It's the Hot Topic in Web!

The phenomenon of parallax scrolling website design is growing in popularity across the internet, bringing the user experience to a new interactive level of online viewing. With web designers and developers constantly exploring new ways to make their web presence more appealing to their sites’ visitors through engaging visuals and functionality, parallax scrolling has taken hold as the new frontier of user experience.

Chart showing recent popularity of parallax web design.

What Is Parallax Design?

Graphic showing parallax style layering.

The term “parallax” first came from the visual effect of 2D side scrolling videogames that used different background image movement speeds to create the illusion of depth during gameplay. This was generally done by making the background of the game move slower than the foreground in order to make it seem further away. This same concept applies to parallax site design in which the background of the website moves at a different speed as the rest of the page for an impressive visual effect that allows for countless creative applications for online storytelling.

Parallax design gives websites a great opportunity to:

  • Wow viewers with page depth and animation
  • Take a story-telling approach to guide visitors through the site
  • Make page visits last longer by encouraging visitors to scroll through the entire page
  • Provoke curiosity
  • Direct visitors to calls to action
  • Reenforce website credibility with innovative interactive viewing

Divider line graphic.

The Downsides to Parallax Website Design

With all of these benefits of parallax site design, there are also several downsides to having a parallax site. Most of these problems stem from the fact that the majority of parallax websites only have a single long page which is extremely detrimental to the site’s SEO as well as load speed. Here are some of the negatives to using parallax scrolling design:

  • SEO takes a hit, websites with a single page allow only one set of meta information, one effective h1 tag, and one URL
  • A ton of images and other information on one page cause slow load times, causing frustrated visitors to leave the page before they even see it
  • Not compatible with responsive and mobile design
  • No internal page linking throughout the website

Divider line graphic.Mario Kart parallax website screenshot.

Tips for a Successful Parallax Site

A few more things to keep in mind when you’re designing a parallax website are:

  • Don’t overdo it to make your site too complicated
  • Use it to tell a visual story
  • Make it fun and engaging with depth using layering
  • Emphasize calls to action when directing the visitor through the site
  • Account for older browsers and mobile browsing

Here are some links to interesting parallax solutions I’ve come across:



Ben the Bodyguard

Honda CR-V

Have questions about parallax design or interested in exploring parallax for your site? Contact us today.

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