There was a time, not so long ago when a majority of new sites that we were seeing in website showcase galleries were parallax. It was really interesting at first, but like almost any trend, it gets bigger like a bubble and eventually it pops and the trend fades away. This situation happened to parallax scrolling too. It was a big thing and people were insane about it, but… it faded.
Parallax is a displacement or difference in the apparent position of an object viewed along two different lines of sight, and is measured by the angle or semi-angle of inclination between those two lines. Nearby objects have a larger parallax than more distant objects when observed from different positions, so parallax can be used to determine distances.
Even if that sounds a bit formal, it is the definition of parallax and it was used for the first time in 2D video games where the background images would move slower than the foreground images.
With these two new technologies the parallax effect was possible in web design and since then… designers lost their mind and started adding parallax scrolling to every new presentation site that they’ve had a contract for.
But why was it so popular? Well, trends usually take off because they look and feel good, but there was much more to parallax scrolling that made it intriguing. Most of the times, parallax scrolling is really interesting and scrolling for the next element to appear on the screen makes you feel like you were rewarded.
Besides that, for the authors of a parallax site the credibility increases a lot. Why? People tend to appreciate web designers who can pull off a well designed website. If done the proper way, usability will not be an issue and the site will be impressive and informative at the same time.
However, everything could backfire if you don’t do it properly. Scrolling too much may irritate the visitors and that would make them leave the site before them seeing what you wanted them to see. Also, the usability of the site will implicitly drop really fast.
Most designers never thought they could go wrong with it. After all, what could go wrong with it if everybody likes it?
There are more cons than pros when talking about parallax scrolling, but people ignored it for a while while the parallax scrolling hype was happening.
Parallax scrolling sites showcase: