Parallax sites are great but they aren’t for everyone or every business. I recently created my first Parallax design website for a client that wanted a cutting edge, modern web design; with a great way to show off visual content. Along the way I learned some valuable lessons about Parallax sites and those lessons lead me to this list of questions you should ask yourself before getting started with a Parallax design website.
Is Parallax right for you?
Parallax sites are cool modern one page web site that showcase all of the sites information in a linear scrolling layout. The use of graphics and effects that look like elements are popping at our you are what make these well designed websites appealing to visitors and designers. With every new trend, we see a lot of people wanting to adopt it but not really assessing that whether it is right for them or not. Here are a few questions before jumping in.
Is your website content visual or can you make it visual?
One of the things that make parallax designs so interesting is that as you scroll down you get great visual changes and surprises. If your content is text only then it’ll read like a long book instead of the graphically appealing content we are used to. This doesn’t mean you need a bunch of pictures, as you see on www.voiceofthelifeline.com I turned her resume into charts and graphs to deliver the standard text in a visual way.
Do you have large pictures?
This sounds like a silly question I know, but you would be surprised to know that most of the businesses don’t have any idea of and they don’t even realize the importance of high resolution pictures. The background pictures are key for a parallax site. These background images provide support for other visual elements on the site. When I say large photos you’ll need at least 1900px x 1800px. Also these should be high resolution clear pictures, when you take a small picture (like one you may get for Facebook) and try to enlarge it to this size, you will get blur and poor quality picture. This is something you can’t afford with such a visual design. A good indicator of, if pictures are large enough, is that they come directly from the camera and file size is at least 1MB. Don’t worry if you don’t have any pictures of your own with this size, stock photo sites like 123rf.com have plenty in various sizes to purchase from.
Does your content tell a story?
The best parallax sites tell a story as you scroll down. The content is very linear where you start at one point to the next and end with a call to action. Although, I’ve seen people doing it but such sites don’t do well as compared to blogs or sites with multiple avenues of information. If you have 1 message to get across “Vote for me”, “Learn about me”, “Visit me”, then parallax is perfect for your site.
Do you have too much information?
Just like telling a story, a parallax design is only good for small-to-medium sized content (ironically this makes it ideal for a new business). It’s a common rule that users hate to scroll, parallax breaks that rule a lot by forcing users to scroll through the pages instead of clicking. At some point a user will going to get tired of scrolling and will lose interest. If your site has a lot of pages (I recommend no more than 5) or if the pages are very long, you’re going to lose your visitors as quickly as they came.
Will your site be mobile friendly?
This is kind of a question that people usually expect from their web professionals or theme developers, but it’s definitely a worth asking question that links to Parallax website. More than 40% of the users view sites on mobile devices these days. If your site isn’t responsive (where it adjusts to fit your screen) or it doesn’t have a mobile version, the page shrinks so it can fit the full screen on the device. As you know a Parallax site is really a series of screens all combined into one, so imagine if your phone tries to squeeze all of those pages on a single screen, the site becomes unreadable and very difficult to view and navigate. With this in mind, it’s important to have the mobile discussion and make sure it’s thoroughly tested on a variety of devices not just the latest great ones, but pull out an old Black Berry and see how it looks there.
Are you OK with changing it in a few years?
Another strange question I know, but you know I like to be honest and I want to make sure you’re prepared before jumping into this. The parallax design is great but it is also the latest one in the market and with all trends it may be phased out or lose its flair faster than a more traditional site. So keep in mind if you decide to go for parallax site, you may want to do something a little different in a few years.
Now you’re ready for Parallax, or are you?
The good news is after you’ve asked yourself all of these questions and are now sure that a parallax website is what your business needs, trust me your website will look just awesome. I’ve received amazing feedback from the voiceofthelifeline.com site and my client is getting great exposure for her creative use of content and innovate site.