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24
Sep

Web Design Movement: Parallax Scrolling Methods and Advantages

In our previous article, Web Design Movement: Trends that Move your Website to Success, we discussed about the definition, advantages, and proper way of using the different web design trends to a more effective movement of website towards success. One of these design trends will be the focus of our discussion, the one which was previously known for years in field of game development–Parallax Scrolling.

The term “parallax” came from the Greek word parallaxis, which means “alteration.” It is the apparent displacement of an observed object due to a change in the position of the observer (Dictionary.com). For example, there is a man standing in front of you, and there are three distant boxes behind him. On your right side, the color of the box is red, the middle box is yellow and the box on your left is blue. If you go to the left side and look at the man in your front, the man appears to be standing in front of the red box. Same effect will happen if you change your viewpoint from left to right. The man in your front seems to move at different angles in relation to the boxes behind him. In parallax principle there is a perspective shift that occurs if one’s perspective has changed after looking at a nearby object in different angle against a distant background.

In web design, this principle of parallax applied as a special scrolling technique that allows images to move around the website in variety of speeds producing illusions. Making use of this web design trend will make your users feel that they are part of the creation of your website. In addition, it is another chance for web designers to stand out and develop their creativity.

As mentioned, Parallax Scrolling is a technique, which has been used for years by video games and other applications and just like in video game development and animations, there are four methods to parallax scrolling being used by current web designers:

  1. Layered Method
    The first method becomes effective when allowing multiple background layers parallel among others to move in various directions creating a multilane camera experience. As you scroll, the motion of objects near the monitor seems to be moving faster and closer to you.

  2. Sprite Method
    The second method uses different kinds of images and graphics—sprites [computer graphics] that can move on top or behind the background. This kind of method increases the user experiences, which make them, feel that the objects or the graphics used are moving while the background is not even changing.

  3. Repeating Pattern Method
    In the third method, different individual tiles displayed floating over a repeating background layer to create an optimal parallax experience. These repeated backgrounds produce a visually creative effect.

  4. Raster Method
    The fourth method displays parallel line of pixels in an image in a top-to-bottom order, with a slight delay between drawing one line and drawing the next line. It creates in-depth field of what is being viewed thus becoming a three-dimensional graphical effects.

Advantages

Parallax scrolling effect can be use based on the following purposes:

  1. Visually appealing and engaging to the users - Parallax scrolling effect allows users to engage with your website. It entertains the visitors as they navigate the site. In addition, you can use 3D effect to give the sense of reality upon exploring you site.

  2. Interactive storytelling- one purpose of websites is to tell your story to your audience. Thus, when using the parallax scrolling method, you need to be creative enough in displaying your content. The common way of introducing yourself using long narratives will not work. Tell your story in an engaging and interactive way.

  3. Guide the visitors through the website- parallax scrolling leads to a guided user experience. The cursor movement triggers action. With every scroll, a new story is unfolded. This effect can also lead them to your call to action page.

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CONCLUSION:

As what the famous saying goes, stop trying to fit in when you are born to stand out. Parallax design is more than just fitting “in”. It is a way for web designers to create more opportunities for their client. Explore more possibilities to make your (company) website stand out from the crowd. Always remember to keep web design simple, avoid complexity and confusion, and maintain an organized user experience.

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