How to Use Parallax Scrolling for Enhancing User Experience?

Parallax scrolling offers one of the most enigmatic ways to create a distinct design and persona of your website.

Parallax scrolling offers one of the most enigmatic ways to create a distinct design and persona of your website. Almost everyone of us came across this web design effect which some used effectively to enhance user experience while with over-use many others just failed to incorporate it with right balance. Undoubtedly, parallax effect adds a really impressive 3D effect to website and visually makes the purpose and objective of the site explicit. Finding the right proportion and balance is crucial in making this effective. Let us explain here the basics of parallax scrolling and how you can utilize to enhance user experience.

What is Parallax Scrolling?

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Parallax scrolling though sounds complex, is basically based upon a simple idea. Parallax scrolling refers to the typical visual effect when the background image moves slower compared to the foreground visual creating 3D effect in this way.

Good and bad instances of parallax scrolling

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There are both good and bad instances of parallax scrolling. Ace tech brand Sony incorporated parallax effect to ensure a really impressive storytelling concerning their brand. Engaging the user with the storyline until the final revelation is what matters most and these sites just did that perfectly well. Some sites even used video in their parallax site.

Websites that incorporated parallax effect too much only lingering on a point for too long can actually add to the boredom of visitor. Remember, users always want to know your end proposal or culminating point as soon as possible and so unless your parallax scrolling can engage them intuitively, they may find the site unnecessarily time consuming.

Engaging visual effect, loading time and flow of content

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From designer’s point of view building a parallax scrolling site involves huge effort and considerable time. But the end result with right balance of visual effect is equally rewarding as well. But using parallax effect diligently and minimally is recommended as this design principle has become common these days and heavy use of the effect can make loading time slower besides causing visual overload for the user.

Engaging capability of visual effects and content is a major consideration. The innovative flow of content in eye grabbing graphic and visual effects can ensure quick understanding only if you can utilize this in proper measure. The moving page with visually engaging elements helps reducing readable texts and can effectively break the content in parts enhancing readability to a great extent.

Importance of parallax scrolling as a design principle

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While simple design elements like images and texts often fail to make an endurable impression, visually interactive storytelling often grabs the attention of the user easily and lasts longer. The key reasons parallax scrolling is considered valuable are mentioned below in brief.

• Storytelling effect with contents displayed in an objective flow.
• Scope of prioritizing of contents in a flow.
• With options and choices introduced in the flow parallax scrolling can be interactive and intuitively guiding as well.
• Parallax scrolling used moderately can enhance user engagement several notches.

How and to what extent Parallax effect adds value to user experience?

Before deciding to incorporate parallax effect in your site you should consider how and to what extent it can add value to user experience. Here are some of the most relevant points to consider.

Is it confusing in any way? There are users who can just feel confused as to find what to do next. Failing to see the buttons like “start here” actually confuse them regarding their next step.

Is it interesting? Is the storytelling interesting or is it boring for the seasoned users, this is a question you should ask time and again.

Is it engaging? Does the site after absorbing attention quickly can engage users with the site over time, this is a decisive question to measure the engagement score of your site. By just grabbing attention once and for all can often produce no effect on the business conversion.

Key aspects to ensure in parallax scrolling website

Though there is no straightforward do’s and don’ts for utilizing this design principle effectively, great parallax scrolling websites are seen to have the below mentioned aspects in common.

• Graphics and animations should be interactive to engage users.
• The visual flow by engaging storytelling approach can grab attention and make a better impression.
• Gradual development and display of contents in your parallax flow is crucial for provoking interest and grabbing attention till the end.
• Prominent and guiding ‘call to action’ buttons are important.

Issues to address while using parallax scrolling

Parallax scrolling obviously comes not without a bevy of issues or challenges. Whether in regard to device specific experience or page loading speed or browser compatibility, the designer must address these issues while designing a site incorporating this effect.

• It can be less friendly for display across mobile devices.
• Parallax scrolling with load of graphics can lower the page loading speed.
• When using parallax scrolling, you need to test the effect across different device and browser combinations to ensure optimum performance.
• Offering scopes of interaction for the user is critical to the user engagement and stability of interest.

Recommendations for designing site with parallax scrolling effect

For ensuring optimum parallax scrolling effect that can be lovable by your users and can pave new urge in engaging with your site, the below mentioned considerations are worth taking a closer look.

• Content should be tidy, crisp and interesting for quick glance.
• Design elements should enhance visibility of the content.
• Throughout the flow offer short pieces of content gradually.
• Allow easy navigation of the flow.
• Always allow disinterested and restless users skipping the parallax flow and get their relevant content just with a click.
• Avoid overload of visuals and liberal use of parallax scrolling as it is not at all a new design element. It can only be effective by combining it with other design elements
• Do not offer too much text, information and visual elements in one page. Any clutter and over-use will ultimately lose the point.

Finally, testing the performance of your parallax website is most important step to verify the issues, effectiveness and engagement score. As device specific view and browser compatibility have always been challenging for this design element, testing it in various device-browser combinations is very important.

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Author:

Keval Padia is a Founder & CEO of Nimblechapps, a fast-growing website design and iPhone development company. The current innovation and updates of the field lures him to express his views and thoughts on certain topics.

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