Parallax Scrolling Effect 101: Examples and Best Practices

September 23, 2022

Words by Jeff Cardello

A parallax scrolling effect can give your web content a sense of depth, enticing users to keep scrolling.

Using a parallax scrolling effect is like pulling off a magic trick through web design. Just take visual elements, set them to move at different rates as a visitor scrolls, and voila: you’ve created the illusion of three-dimensionality. With pre-built parallax scrolling sections that can be added directly to the page you are designing, Vev makes it easy to bring parallax magic to your content.

What Is Parallax Scrolling?

Parallax scrolling is a powerful technique used not just to make designs prettier, but to engage users. Whilst web design best practice encourages you to place your most important information above the fold, a parallax scrolling effect lets you be a bit more imaginative and space out your information. Since the effect itself encourages users to scroll, you can slowly reveal information at a pace that provides more breathing space for your content, while weaving in photos and videos to enhance user understanding of the messaging.

Some elements may move slowly while others may move fast. Generally, objects in the front of a design will move at a quicker rate than those in the background. You can even anchor text or images into place while the rest of the content moves past it. Parallax scrolling juxtaposes the motion of different elements, giving them a sense of physicality and depth.

When to Use Parallax Scrolling Effects

Parallax scrolling can be used in several ways to enhance a user’s experience.

Providing Visual Breaks

First, it’s an effective way to break out content. If you have a large amount of writing, photos, or other visuals, setting a parallax effect that moves these elements independently from one another prevents them from becoming overcrowded. Using this design technique makes it possible to roll out large amounts of content in a way that’s less hectic than trying to do this all at once.

Injecting Fluidity and Movement

Along with an easier-on-the-eyes way of displaying visuals and text, parallax scrolling gives visitors a more dynamic user experience. Moving through a web page triggers multiple points of activity on screen, giving them a heightened sense of visual feedback while scrolling through. This isn’t to say that every parallax scrolling effect is huge, some are more muted, and can be easy to miss if you’re not paying attention.

Keeping Long-Form Interesting

With all this said, parallax scrolling is a perfect addition to many use cases. A parallax scrolling effect works particularly well with long-form content that tells a story. Scrollytelling—a fusion between “storytelling” and “scrolling”—is a great way to tell immersive stories online through a number of elements which ultimately engage the user through animation and interactivity. Parallax scrolling is one of these techniques, as it encourages users to keep reading whilst also helping to illustrate key points with striking graphics and videos.

Using a parallax scrolling effect is like pulling off a magic trick through web design.

Parallax Scrolling Effect Best Practices

Whilst parallax scrolling is a brilliant way to enhance your web design, these are a few things to keep in mind to ensure you use it well.

Responsive Web Design

This is probably the most important thing to consider when adding any new effects to your website. Most traffic these days comes from mobile, and parallax may not always be the best option for mobile. It is worth considering limiting and turning off parallax on mobile in order to give users the experience they deserve, and one that allows your content to be consumed appropriately across different devices.

Page Load Speed

The page load speed matters. You don’t want visitors to bounce and your website’s SEO to be in jeopardy for any reason. If you add a parallax scrolling effect to your web page, it could cause this to happen, so make sure to monitor page load speed and what may cause any dips (fingers crossed, it won’t be the fancy new parallax effect).

Less is More

Always keep your love for a new effect you may be using in check. We’ve all gotten carried away when adding elements to a design, but this usually ends up creating an overcrowded page that can’t be easily navigated. Keep your use of parallax scrolling effects to a minimum, using only where it actually offers your design and content value.

10 Parallax Scrolling Effect Examples

If you want to draw people into a website, a parallax scrolling effect is a great way to capture and hold their attention. Let’s take a look at ten websites that all use this design technique to offer more immersive and lively user experiences.

Annonsørinnhold

Annonsørinnhold, is a movie detailing the life of Margarete the First, who once ruled Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. Built with Vev, this design features plenty of historical information, as well as still shots from the film. There’s a huge amount of writing and visuals that are organized into distinct sections. This would be a rather long website to travel through if it weren’t for parallax scrolling.

Each section has a full-width photo that’s anchored in place as text moves over it, which is eventually replaced by the next page of content. This sliding window-like parallax scrolling effect signals the beginning and end of each section, and breaks up the content into easier-to-digest chunks. What’s more, the page has a scroll progress bar, subtly hinting to users how long their journey is, encouraging them to reach the end of the content.

Reform Digital

Reform Digital comes through with a web design that’s all about big splashy visuals. There’s giant text, animated morphing circular shapes, and each screen has graphics and text that spring into action as a user scrolls. Within this gorgeous design are also several parallax scrolling effects that add to the dynamic user experience.

Visitors trigger the movements of text, shapes, and images which shift and come onto the screen from a number of different directions. Digital Reform takes a maximalist approach to this design, filling every page of it with animated effects and interactivity.

Covid-19 in Africa

The Mo Ibrahim Foundation put together this Vev-built website to show people the ongoing effects COVID-19 in Africa, as well as convey a sense of hope in what can be done to help this region in its recovery.

There are a few subtle parallax scrolling effects. Graphics, statistics, and text move onto the screen as visitors move down the page. Parallax scrolling never takes away focus from the content and messaging, serving to embellish this design with a sense of fluidity that helps guide people through the space.


Poklonnaya 9

Featuring a day spa and other fancy amenities, Poklonnaya 9 is an apartment building appealing to those in search of upscale living. This design displays a well-developed sense of dimensionality. Along with parallax scrolling effects, there’s a layering of text and images that adds depth throughout.

Though this website is dominated by photos, it never feels too busy. Parallax scrolling effects keep every visual element distinct from one another, grabbing visitors’ attention as they appear on the screen.

Hajk

Another great example of a parallax scrolling effect is seen in the Vev-built website for Hajk, a Scandinavian outdoor clothing brand which successfully communicates its commitment to sustainability. From information about the materials that Hajk’s garments are made from, to photos of people wearing their gear hiking through the mountains, it’s easy to see who they are as a company and what they value.

Much like the Annonsorinnhold website we covered first, this design also employs parallax scrolling to pull off a sliding window effect. This footer section achieves parallax by unveiling the photo at a faster rate than the rest of the screen, making it feel like it’s physically being pulled up from the bottom.

Vev: Multi-image Parallax

Let’s shift gears just a bit with this multi-layer image parallax scrolling effect that’s built into Vev—voted by our team as one of Vev’s most underrated features.

Multi-layer image parallax lets you take a complex image like this rainbow of different colored bands and make it appear as if the different pieces are all moving as you scroll. We’re happy to include this as one of the many ready-made effects you can use in putting together eye-catching web designs with Vev.

Vendredi Society

Let’s face it, in this age of short attention spans you need to lock in a visitor’s attention from the moment they land on your website, and keep them engaged the entire time as they make their way through it. With parallax scrolling effects, things can get a bit tiresome when they all follow the same patterns. Vendredi Society utilizes a wide selection of parallax, making every moment of this design feel fresh and exciting.

This web page offers a user experience that’s filled with interactivity and animations, and with every scroll it reveals something that’s visually captivating in an engaging way with parallax scrolling. There are text and visuals that move through the screen at different paces. Further adding to the sense of dimensionality are the different z-indices that they’re stacked onto.

Eidsiva

Eidsiva is a Norwegian company focused on renewable energy. Within this Vev-built design are scrollytelling elements like text moving over background videos, horizontally scrolled sections of content, animated text, as well as parallax scrolling effects. This design benefits from the variety of Vev’s pre-built effects put into action, which serve both decorative and practical purposes in bringing focus to different pieces of content.

Forner

With a classy mix of typography, pastel colors, and brilliant photos of branding projects they’ve worked on, Forner Studio boldly shows off their work, as well as capturing their refined and sophisticated sensibilities.

Websites going for a high-end aesthetic sometimes feel a bit stuffy. The multitude of parallax scrolling effects, touching both the visuals and text, make this a rich user experience that feels full of life and gives the content room to breathe.

The North Sea

The North Sea, an action film set on the ocean, begins with a video grab of a field of oil rigs set ablaze. It’s a dramatic opening that creates a sense of curiosity about this movie right from the start. This design is a nice mix of photos, writing, and videos, showing how easy it is to combine different types of content with Vev.

The story of this film is told through still images from the movie, as well as text. This use of parallax scrolling effects within a scrollytelling piece of content is highly effective, making a large amount of content easier to navigate through.

Use Parallax Scrolling Effects in Your Next Project

Inspired and itching to bring parallax scrolling to your own content? With Vev, it couldn’t be easier. Just drag and drop our pre-coded parallax elements—image parallax and multi-layer parallax—to quickly build whatever you’re imagining. No big budget or coding knowledge needed. Just publish your site directly to the web when you’re ready.

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