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Web Design and Parallax Scrolling

Posted by Amanda on Jan 28, 2014 6:00:00 PM

Parallax scrolling is one of the most popular of all current web design trends. It’s a unique scrolling method used by designers to give a website the appearance of added depth by having background images move slower than images or text in the foreground. Here’s an example of a website that makes great use of parallax scrolling to deliver an experience that’s almost three dimensional in appearance.

With a growing number of websites incorporating parallax scrolling, many business owners and web designers are viewing it as a way to make a lasting impression on their audiences. But parallax scrolling also comes with its fair share of challenges that could cause some to rethink whether or not to embrace it.

  • Parallax scrolling is difficult to achieve on mobile devices. The list of existing mobile websites with operational parallax scrolling is small, and the trick to accomplishing this end result is elusive. Parallax scrolling websites don’t automatically work when accessed via mobile devices, and this is a great hindrance – especially when taking into consideration the fact that mobile web use is growing in leaps and bounds.
  • Pages with parallax scrolling take a long time to load and aren’t conducive to loading quickly on slow internet connections. For this reason, online business owners are urged to balance their desire for a stylish, visually striking website with the need to give site visitors the information they’re seeking quickly. If a business is worried that long load times could impact conversion rates, parallax scrolling may not be the practical choice.
  • Not everyone appreciates parallax scrolling. If a company or web designer is looking to produce something that’s visually impressive, taking the parallax scrolling route is one way to achieve that end. The problem is, not all website visitors are necessarily looking to be impressed. Many – like mobile users – are more interested in finding information quickly. By nature, a site that seems to emphasize style over substance and that requires constant scrolling is one that can wear thin with impatient visitors. Keep this in mind when deciding on site design.
  • Inbound links can only be directed to one location: the main page, where all content resides. Sites with parallax scrolling contain all of their information on a single page, which means that if someone wants to share specific information found on that website, they will be unable to point to a specific location within a website. Keeping social media marketing in mind, this can create some significant limitations in overall online exposure.
  • Parallax scrolling presents unique challenges for search engine optimization because all information is contained on a single page. This can make it difficult to optimize a website for keywords, potentially lowering the site’s ranking on search engines.

The Combination Solution

There are solutions that can be used as viable workarounds to the drawbacks and functional limitations inherent in parallax scrolling. One such workaround is to create links within the main page that drive out to sub-pages with static background content. By creating a central “front” page with parallax scrolling, and combining that with more specific pages, web designers can get around SEO hurdles that would otherwise hurt search engine ranking. They can also make it possible for site owners to post links to content-specific information, making a website more friendly for social media marketing purposes.

Web design for small businesses is a booming industry, with site owners constantly in search of new methods of keeping their visitors interested and engaged. Contact us today to learn more about how you can use your web design talents to land well-paying freelance assignments.

Tags: Design Resources

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