Is parallax scrolling design dead?

I recently had a clearout of my web bookmarks and came across a unsurprising discovery...

Every so often, I like to fire up Google Chrome and work through a section of my bookmarks so I can remove and amend broken or missing links.

This week, I was going through my parallax scrolling design gallery/technology section, and found that over 80% of my bookmarks had reverted back to a more traditional approach to layout and design.

But why?

It is easy to assume why a website would revert back to a more conventional layout, but my key areas of concern with the parallax scrolling design are as follows:

  • It is not often flexible enough for multiple pages/large websites - often the parallax design is used on microsites or single-page websites
  • It is rarely as intuitive as it could be - users love familiarity in the way they navigate a website, so introducing a new way of thinking is not going to help them achieve their goals
  • It is probably used when the designer is running out of content - I like to think we really try to consider content for a project, but often website owners just don't have the content. Instead, designers sometimes use large imagery to convey content and get the website message across to the user in a visual way
  • It is difficult to approach a parallax scrolling design with responsive web design in mind - we build a lot of responsive websites these days, and I know that parallax is almost impossible to replicate on smaller/hand-held devices

There are probably many other concerns with the parallax approach too.

I cannot confirm if this trend has died out, but I can see why people are moving away from it.

Will it come back?

Probably. I know other trends have come and gone.

In the early days, simplistic website design was massive across the web. Microsoft's Metro user experience has reverted back to this design approach, and others are following.

Denim jackets have also come back into fashion. Some would say denim on denim is now cool* - it was also cool in the 90s (especially for B*witched fans†).

Design trends come and go. Some stick around and some come back to haunt us in years to come. I have no doubt the parallax beast will return, if it truly has died out.

* I am not a fashion expert, those who know me will vouch for that.
† I have actually seen B*witched in concert... supported by Daphne & Celeste.

About the Author

Karl Tynan, Senior Front End Developer

Karl is our Senior Front End Developer, looking after our HTML, CSS and JavaScript. He is also a keen Umbraco developer, regularly contributing to the local Umbraco meetups at umBristol.