6 Pros and Cons of Parallax Scrolling in Web Design

Putting together a website takes a lot of effort and consideration, especially for the “little things” that customers don’t often consider. One such element is the website’s scrolling pattern, which matters because it dictates the pace at which information is delivered to users. It can also have an impact on how interactive a page is, which is quite important considering the fact that the average human’s attention span has shrunk considerably over the past few years. According to Dr. Gloria Mark, a professor of informatics at the University of California, Irvine, today’s web users only pay attention to a single screen for about 47 seconds—a far cry from the average of 2.5 minutes in 2004.

Your choice of scrolling pattern for your website can help your target audience stay focused on the information you’re trying to convey. Knowing that, your web design services provider will often present you with four common scrolling options: (1) long scrolling, (2) fixed long scrolling, (3) infinite scrolling, and (4) parallax scrolling.

Of these four, parallax scrolling is the pattern that’s gained a significant amount of attention lately. This trendy scrolling pattern moves the background content at a different (and often slower) speed compared to the content in the foreground. If you’re considering using this scrolling pattern on your website, you need to have a clear idea of the advantages and disadvantages of doing so. Here’s SearchWorks.PH’s take on the pros and cons of parallax scrolling and what it can achieve for your web design.

Pro: It Successfully Captures the Attention of the Users

User Experience

The simple strategy of moving the foreground and background content at different paces helps create a sense of depth within the web page. Thus, instead of just looking up and down while scrolling, website users can be prompted to look deeper into the elements of the page and enjoy a more immersive experience. This, in turn, gives them more opportunities to see the points that the overall website design aims to highlight and the interesting intersections between a website’s foreground and background elements.

Pro: It Provides Opportunities for Innovative Visual Storytelling

Storytelling is a powerful design approach that can be used to help users relate to a particular brand, understand a cause, or retain complex data. Parallax scrolling entices website users to explore a page, but in addition to that, it also offers website designers the opportunity to tell stories with depth and movement. They can do this by revealing relevant information in a manner that supports the story throughout the page. They can also inject fluidity in the way the text and visual elements move, insert visual breaks, and give readers the opportunity to participate at the end of the story and page.

Pro: It Gives the Website a Professional Look

Thanks to parallax scrolling, business websites can achieve the illusion of depth for their web pages and thus present a clean, stylish, and professional look to their visitors. A page that has visual depth and a seemingly complicated scrolling pace can easily give off a polished look, especially if it is not overloaded by visual elements.

To maximize its visual appeal, however, it’s important for a web page that uses parallax scrolling to have ample white space. It’s also a must to use special effects sparingly, reserving them for elements that must draw the reader’s attention.

Pro: It Improves the Time Users Spend on the Page

Page Views

Since pages that use parallax scrolling draw in readers and provide an immersive experience, they can retain the reader’s attention for longer. This is especially true for pages that can successfully tell a story, as these hold the reader’s attention until they reach the very bottom of the page. Consequently, readers tend to spend more time reading and appreciating the visual elements presented by web pages that use parallax scrolling, and this may factor into their likelihood of buying a product or booking a particular service.

Con: Its Many Visual Elements Can Impact Page Loading Speed

Pages that employ parallax scrolling are content-heavy, as they typically require the use of numerous layers of images and animation. Website owners must be aware that this can negatively impact a page’s loading speed. It can take a while for a page that uses parallax scrolling to load completely, and this lag in activity can cause an impatient user to lose interest in the page altogether. Such an issue can be made worse if the reader has a poor internet connection or can only load the website at limited speed on their mobile phone.

Con: Users May Need Time to Get Used to Parallax Scrolling

Lastly, not everyone takes to parallax scrolling in a snap. Some people may feel motion sickness when using a page that employs parallax scrolling. If a page is loading very slowly, then it’s also possible for users to incur problems at getting timely responses. The design elements may lag when a user clicks, or the page may appear cluttered to them before it completely loads. Such problems can lead to poor user experience, or UX.

In summary, there are several advantages to parallax scrolling, but there are also some negative effects that you should consider. It’s best to ask for the opinion of your web design partner regarding whether this type of scrolling pattern will help you achieve your goals for your website. You can trust the people at SearchWorks to take web design elements like scrolling patterns seriously and make them work for your web property.

Glen Dimaandal
Glen Dimaandal
Glen Dimaandal is the founder and CEO of SearchWorks.Ph. He has been doing SEO since 2008 and is consistently featured in mainstream media and industry conferences. His core skills include SEO, SEM, data analytics and business development.
Glen Dimaandal
Glen Dimaandal
Glen Dimaandal is the founder and CEO of SearchWorks.Ph. He has been doing SEO since 2008 and is consistently featured in mainstream media and industry conferences. His core skills include SEO, SEM, data analytics and business development.