Parallax Design is a popular design element utilized in a lot of heavy, interactive websites on the internet. You’ve probably this design action, even if you haven’t heard the term before. Have you ever been to a website where instead of clicking to go to different pages on the site, you simply had to scroll down one giant page? You’d have noticed that the background image on the site moved slower than the content in the foreground as you moved down the page. This is Parallax Design in action.
Parallax Design has only been in use on websites since 2011. The concept originally grew out of animation techniques in the 1930’s. It was a popular design element used by side scrolling video games in the 80’s and 90’s. Any one remember Mario Bros? As you moved Mario through the stage the objects in the foreground (bricks, pipes, enemies etc) moved much faster towards you than the background. This was done to create an illusion of depth in an otherwise 2D environment. It’s kind of like when you look out the window of a moving car. As you drive down the highway you notice that the images closest to you seem to move the fastest past you, while the mountains in the distance don’t seem to move that much.
The same concept is now becoming very popular amongst web designers. Critics argue that this design element adds nothing to the functionality of the website and only adds to loading times by making the site heavier. What this design does is, it makes the website more engaging and visually appealing. It also reduces user effort as most of the content is now on a single page and you don’t need multiple clicks to get from one part of the website to another. Everything is available on one page. As far as the loading times are concerned, internet connections are a whole lot better and faster than they were five years ago. So that is not a real concern.
Parallax Design makes a site more interactive and appealing and is here to stay. In fact I predict that most business websites will utilize this design element in the coming years.