Several of our newest websites make use of parallax scrolling for a fresh, engaging user experience that is growing in popularity across the web. The New York Times, ESPN and The Verge, among others, have utilized parallax scrolling in one way or another in the past year. Drawing inspiration from traditional animation and computer graphics, parallax scrolling essentially causes backgrounds to move at different rates than the foreground or other background layers. One of the best examples of this is the well-known video game, Super Mario Brothers.
This technique gives a static website a new dynamically visual look that gives the illusion of depth and movement. It also assists in leading viewers through content, allowing them to continuously scroll through pages that connect to each other interactively. Parallax allows for a new level of creativity in web design, while also effectively capturing the essence of story telling: a continuous stream of well designed information aimed to be accessible, intuitive, and engaging. To see some parallax scrolling in action, take a look at the website for the Maine Brewers Festival. Parallax scrolling is like any other technology – it needs to be thought through and executed well. As more sites adopt the parallax scrolling functionality, the quality of execution tends to suffer. For instance, parallax scrolling can be distracting on sites with a lot of textual content, sometimes hindering the overall user experience. Parallax scrolling is a good fit for some sites, but not all. Reaffirming that you can in fact have too much of a good thing!