What’s a parallax website?
Parallax websites are on the increase, and for good reason – they’re a designers dream. Fabulous graphics which cover your entire screen, tempting your visitors to scroll here, there and everywhere – we love this technology and what it can do for a brand.
However, like all good things, there’s always a ‘but’. What you can gain with parallax in design terms, you can lose in SEO. However, with a bit of care this problem should not hold you back. But first…
What is parallax web design?
Put simply, parallax is a way of creating a visual effect whereby an image that is closer appears to be moving at a different speed to an image that’s further away. This is usually achieved through layering of images. It works from a design perspective because it creates a sensation of depth and dimension.
Lots of big brands are now moving to parallax, but in the industry Nike is recognised as one of the first with its ‘Better World’ campaign.
Parallax websites can be stunning. The fact that you can present your site visitor with a stunning image and/or background colour and work it across their entire screen creates immediate visual impact. There’s greater scope for the use of movement on the screen, helping you draw your reader’s attention. And who could resist the temptation to scroll, given the right image or message to move your visitors around the site?
The disadvantages of parallax mostly centre around SEO and depth of content. Our advice would be to use parallax, but to be aware that you’ll need to think quite carefully about how you’ll manage your SEO.
Because parallax is image-led it is more difficult to reconcile with Google, which requires text to match with search queries.
In addition, the eye-catching design of a parallax site can quickly lose its appeal if the visitor isn’t able to navigate to the depth of content they need to assess whether you meet their needs. What you need to do is balance content with look and feel – create the level of content your visitors need and guide them to it as seamlessly as possible. It takes a little more time and effort, simply because we’ve become so accustomed to standard navigation techniques and layouts for content pages.
To appreciate the full effect of a Parallax website, website visitors require an up-to-date browser on supported devices.
Making use of parallax
The best parallax websites are those that bring a brand alive by taking the visitor on some sort of journey, either telling a story or providing a new perspective on a product or service.
The decision to use parallax is usually based upon what it can bring to your brand – to earn its keep, parallax must be used to arrest attention and make your brand more desirable, more ‘shareable’ among your target audience.
It’s clear that a fabulous design will not earn its keep unless you ensure your customers have enough information – and confidence – to prompt them to make an enquiry.
The issues of SEO and depth of content need to be balanced against the benefit of creating a more visually appealing site. They can certainly be overcome, but more effort will be required to research and apply keywords, and more thought will need to go in to how content is displayed and managed.
Achieve both – and you certainly can with our experienced design team to hand – and you’ve got something pretty special.