The past few years one web design feature has seemed to pop-up everywhere - parallax. But most websites don't come with a label saying "This is parallax effect",
which is why you're here. You've seen this cool 3D background effect on websites and you have come across the word parallax, now you can know the two go hand in hand!
This is gonna be simple, parallax gives you a 3D effect on your website with background images, allowing you to have animation-like effects on your website.
But why is parallax everywhere? And how can parallax go wrong? Read on to find out!
What Does Parallax Do?
Parallax goes all the way back to Ancient Greece, where it gets its definition of “alternation” which is defined as the difference in the position of an object viewed in two different lines of sight. Which essentially boils down to a visual trick where the background is truly on a separate visual plane than the objects in the foreground. So as the foreground moves, either up and down or side to side, the background stays in place.
In essence, parallax effect creates depth on your page, a sense of 3D or animation when there is none.
It is always triggered by the website visitors' action, scrolling, moving a mouse, or sliding through a section.
While there isn’t a solid reason why it’s grown in popularity, it’s most likely a combination of a few things.
- In the past few decades, we’ve seen the rise of parallax effect in video games and at some point it crossed over from web design (which isn't unheard of, video games tend to set online visual trends).
- It easily adds flair/depth to a webpage. Unlike coding in animation, parallax is a relatively simple addition to a website and is only triggered by the website visitor, meaning it's not a distraction from website copy.
Adding parallax to your site can be as simple as a plugin on WordPress, or for Wavoto, it’s literally a checkmark when you’re editing a column.
Why Wouldn't I Use Parallax?
Now, why should you not use parallax? What are the cons of the parallax effect?
A lot of animation or movement on a website is distracting and can leave people feeling motion sick! (I actually tend to suggest less animation over more because I find animations to be annoying on websites, like music automatically playing on a website - don't force things on me!)
First, too much parallax, anything beyond a simple scroll effect once or twice on a page, will detract from website visitors experience! Second, if you rely on a lot of search engine traffic, parallax can hurt your rank because it can make your website load slower, especially on mobile. If you decide parallax will add to your website visitors' experience, see if you can “turn it off” for mobile viewers (this is something we do automatically for you on Wavoto).
Catch one of my favorite examples of parallax below: