01 January 2015

“Do not confuse motion and progress. A rocking horse keeps moving but does not make any progress.”


Parallax Scrolling; what is it?

The term Parallax Scrolling refers to a scrolling technique used in computer graphics. In parallax scrolling, the background images move slower than the foreground images which gives the illusion of depth and immersion to the user. The technique has found widespread implementation in video games, wallpapers and applications.

The word “Parallax” is mainly taken from the field of astronomy and is used to define the difference in apparent displacement and the apparent direction of a particular object when observed from two different vantage points.


How it is done?

In the new age of digital graphics, programmers and designers can achieve parallax graphics through various means. The first method is to create different layers which move at irregular speeds when rendered in a browser or any viewer. The other method revolves around the creation of Sprites. Sprites are independent parts of an image. They are usually in the form of an avatar or a character which moves within a particular digital environment. Another method that has been found to work is to create a cycle of repeating patterns, this has been implemented perfectly in many games and animations. Programmers have also achieved parallax scrolling by manipulating the rendering of graphics.



In general, all the developers have to take into consideration various elements that would be needed in order to create a parallax effect. They would also need to weigh the pros and cons for using various effects in various environments.


Enormous loading time

It can be without a doubt said that the internet is a place filled with enormous amount of information, be it gossip or facts. The people roaming on the internet have something interesting to occupy their mind space. That is why it is said, that the loading time of the page be kept short so that people don’t roam away from your webpage. However, if you are implementing a Parallax Design, it is somewhat impossible to keep the loading time to a minimal.

It must be known that Parallax is known for its appeal, the visual sparkle that might capture the eye. It is perfect to capture attention of people when you are advertising, or putting up a portfolio or a landing page. However, no matter in what way you implement it, Parallax Scrolling will always mean that you are sacrificing your website’s loading time.

It must be carefully weighed whether this sacrifice is worth it or not.


The Usability Factor

This factor has always been the center of many debates that are related to Parallax Scrolling. Whether websites having Parallax Scrolling are usable or not. This is a question which has a somewhat ambiguous answer. There are websites (a small percentage) where the existence of Parallax Scrolling actually enhances the appeal of the website and also improve its usability. Best example would be websites which are mainly involved in showcasing a product.

However, the crisis arises when Parallax Scrolling is being used in websites which are involved in giving information about products and sell them. In this case, the problem is that, users expect information to be present in a straightforward manner. However, due to Parallax scrolling there is haphazard information which might not only confuse visitors, but also drive them away.


SEO and Parallax Scrolling

Search Engine Optimization, is the factor which holds the most weight when considering Parallax Scrolling. It is said that Parallax scrolling results in a reputation decline of your website.

The biggest and most visible drawback in this case is the fact that Parallax Scrolling is not well-suited for mobile phone devices which results in the page losing its Search Engine Results Page Ranking. This is because most of the search engines are now being optimized to show mobile-friendly results first.


It can be said, that Parallax Scrolling is a road that must be tread with caution. There is no doubt that the design is really good, however one must carefully weigh the cons before implementing the design altogether.

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