In the web design world, trends come and go. It seems that every day something new and interesting comes up. There was a time when Flash was the way to go for interactive websites, yet a few years passed, and HTML5 and CSS3 have taken over. Recently, there has been a new trend in web design called Parallax Scrolling.
If you’re scratching your head wondering just what exactly is this parallax scrolling, chances are you have seen it before — you probably didn’t know it had a name. Parallax Scrolling websites are the latest in website fads; in which you scroll down, but certain elements of the web page wont move (usually the background). In simple terms, it makes page elements scroll at variable speeds. So one thing moves at 100%, while the other at 60%. If you are curious to see some examples, visit this page.
As web designers, sometimes clients will ask us to develop a site with specific features based on some of their favorite sites. Just because you see something that may seem cool at the time does not mean that its functionality will benefit your business or increase awareness. If someone tells us to build something for the sake of being “cool”, it’s most-likely not a good idea.
Personally, I would not recommend parallax scrolling to clients that may have a lot of information on their pages. Customers will want to scan the information quickly, which is one of the downfalls of this type of scrolling. The information will be hard to find, and it will require more time and engagement from customer. This could lead to the user exiting the site disappointed, and without the information that he/she seeks.
Now, if your site has little information, and a few pictures, parallax scrolling will add depth and interest to the site, allowing the user to experience the information in a more interesting way. If your website is based around art or creativity, parallax scrolling is a great way to present simple content in a dynamic fashion!
Again, it’s important to remember that just because some new trend is cool, does not mean that it will work for your site. Hell, its popularity will probably wane before you know it, as many trends already have. Always make sure that your site’s functionality is adequate to the content that you are interested in presenting.
And remember: cool is not always right.