5 reasons why parallax scrolling is bad for your website

Parallax scrolling is one of the hottest web design trend of 2013. However, I predict that we will start to see its slow demise in 2014 as there are too many problems with its implementation. If you have ever created or used websites with parallax scrolling, you will understand some of the issues. Below, I have listed out what I feel that negative aspects of parallax scrolling which in turn will drive web design back to other design forms. If you think I am wrong, I welcome any of your comments or feedback to the article.

Let the trolling begins!

 

#1: Parallax scrolling bad for SEO?

why parallax scrolling is bad for your website 1

I used a question mark here as the effects of parallax scrolling on SEO has not been studied in depth. However, we will lose some of the optimization options that a webmaster normally has with a regular website.

  • No keywords in url: With parallax scrolling, you get only one url. You will no longer have other pages’ url to work with.
  • No multiple H1: You get only one H1 to work with in a typical parallax scrolling website.
  • Fewer internal links: Having everything on one page reduces the amount of internal links you can have control over. Believe it or not, internal links do pass anchor text relevance to the pages they are pointing to.
  • Slow: Speed is part of Google’s ranking alogorithm. If you have too much content on one page, the loading is going to drag down the site speed which reduces the ability of the site to rank.

 

#2: Difficult to track with analytics

why parallax scrolling is bad for your website 3

Traditional websites allow you to track your visitor’s behavior with different landing pages. With parallax scrolling, it is difficult to know which section within a single page is providing the most value for your visitors. It is also difficult to implement any form of A/B testing for websites with parallax scrolling.

Without the proper analytics, a website owner cannot improve its web pages or content to improve traffic or conversion.

 

#3:  Parallax scrolling increases load time

why parallax scrolling is bad for your website 2

Parallax scrolling requires some computation for the jquery script. The more content you have, the longer time the script needs to calculate where everything should go to. For users on a slow Internet, a parallax scrolling website will be seen as crawling. This can’t be a good user experience so we should seriously think about when and how best to use parallax scrolling.

 

#4: Parallax scrolling does not work on mobile devices

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With mobile browsing becoming more prevalent, we can’t afford to use a website design that makes it unusable on mobile devices. Unfortunately, that is what happens when you use parallax scrolling. Currently, there are codes that can make a parallax scrolling website work on mobile but it is not free. This problem might be solved in the future but for now, it is still something that can drag a website down its useability index, especially when used on mobile devices.

 

#5: Lack of navigation makes it annoying to browse

why parallax scrolling is bad for your website 5

Sometimes, it is pretty annoying to need to scroll to the bottom of the page to find the information I need.  Some smarter designs used some anchor links but it is still annoying to ‘fly’ throw all the unnecessary stuff to get to the things that I want to read or know.  All these problems boil down to the lack of good navigation design on parallax scrolling websites. Most of them just uses the down arrow as the sole navigation method, which frankly, doesn’t work well.  The first time you are using it might seem nice but using such a website repeatedly will inevitably cause you to wish there was a faster way to navigate.

 

So, what is your views on parallax scrolling? More harm than benefit or vice versa?

 


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17 Comments

  1. Jamie Broome says:

    A lot of our clients actually want one pagers or parallax type pages for tablet browsing. It’s much easier to keep everything in one page and let the end user stay there. Drop down menus are a nightmare on phones and tablets.

    Well thought out design will always win out, but there is still a lot of life left in one pagers. It’s just a matter of keeping the content fresh and exciting within the sections of the page.

  2. Ceba says:

    Though I agree with the points given above, but parallex scrolling gives eye-catching looks to a website, which definitely attracts customers.

  3. Zeno Popovici says:

    1. Not to be a bugger, but with HTML5 you can actually have more than one H1 on the page. You can actually implement best practices for SEO in a one pager. Because we’re talking about one pagers not parallax here.

    2. Speed is not an issue if you load content progressively via JS

    3. What is this?
    “Currently, there are codes that can make a parallax scrolling website work on mobile but it is not free.”
    You’re kidding, right? Any decent coder can implement parallax and one pagers that work in any modern browser.

    4. A decent designer can work out “reveal” type areas and use other techniques to prevent as much as possible scrolling for information. The menu is not an issue, most of them have a decent menu that’s sticky and easy to find.

    5. IMHO this article is very poorly written and documented.

    We expect a bit more.

    • Ali Qayyum says:

      Thanks for your comment. I am not saying these issues are ‘impossible’ to resolve. Any smart developer can find solutions to almost any web design problems. However, most of the current implementation did not resolve most of these issues.

      I would love it if you can contribute a list of website that uses parallax scrolling which uses what you have recommended.

      • Dave Marchuk says:

        If have to agree with the commenter above. Your post doesn’t really condem parallax at all. It’s more like good advice to designing any web site, one page or not.

        1. Parallax has nothing to do with SEO, as parallax is only a design (read look and feel) element on the page.

        2. Analytics can be attached to damn near anything now.

        3. True that parallax is purely visual and needs to considered, but I’d argue that that agreement is a consideration in the larger argument embodied in the general page weight of any site.

        4. Parallax if done right (and it’s easy to do with existing scripts), will responsively work on any mobile device. Any HTML/JS/CSS can go wrong if not planned and implemented correctly.

        5. Having accessibility to navigation should be a constant concern of any web-based design. There are numerous methods to implement that accessibly and reliably.

        So I’m still left wondering why you are saying Parallax effects will become a declining trend. As Parallax effects are visually design related, do you have some more targeted reasons that the actual design pattern should be abandoned?

  4. Vizz Media says:

    We tried developing a Parallax Scrolling Mobile website recently for a client but the loading time killed the client’s desire to have a fancy mobile website. Instead we rolled back to a regular vertical/responsive design. We’ve noticed that when it comes to E-Commerce Website Designs, the loading time is very critical and design companies need to pay extra attention to Page Speed Optimization.

    In fact, we get so many projects for website re-design where the client has an existing website with tons of JS/CSS written where only a paragraph is actually being used and probably a novice designer has copy-pasted an already existing code to complete the tiniest of functionalities.

    -

    Regards,

    Nakul Mehra
    Vizz Media

  5. Jessica Bracken says:

    Hi, Very great stuff I like it very much.Thanx for sharing it.

  6. Ali Qayyum says:

    Love these comments.
    This article is by no means the ending word of parallax scrolling but I look forward to more counter arguments or solutions to some of the issues mentioned above.

  7. Carla Dawson says:

    Hi,
    Nice article but I don’t agree. SEO and Parallax Scrolling are 100% compatible. Parallax scrolling is a web design technique that if applied to an SEO architecture is 100% SEO friendly. More here
    http://mmarley.com/parallax-scrolling-and-seo-are-100-compatible-clearing-up-the-misconception/

    THanks
    Carla

  8. gabriel says:

    I’ll start by saying I agree with most of the points that were brought up. But want to point out that there is a use case for Parallax Scrolling websites though.

    It allows you to better control the user experience, and the order they see information. If well developed it will outperform a traditional website (if conversions is the primary goal). This of course makes a few assumptions. #1, Most visitors are new customers, not existing customers #2, Your primary goal is getting conversions.

    That said, I’m not a big fan of parallax scrolling websites myself, mostly for the reasons you’ve already mentioned.

  9. Gaetan says:

    Consider this variation: not a parallaxed site but a site with one or more parralaxed pages. That could be still seo effective.

  10. René says:

    Not sure why you are using theword “Parallax Scrolling” for this. IMHO that has nothing to do with Parallax Scrolling, but with Single Page Applications/ One-Page-Layouts.

    Parallax Scrolling is something different:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parallax_scrolling

    Anyway. I agree with the post, but not with the title you are using.

    • René says:

      okay, I also don’t agree with “#2: Difficult to track with analytics”. With tools like Google Analytics it’s very easy to implement manual reportings to the analytics dashboard, enables to track which sections were clicked or scrolled by a visitor. More work to implement, but not impossible.

  11. Ron Bentata says:

    For some people this maybe already boring, but not for all. this trend has been around for more than 2 years now.
    As I do agree with the general argument, I don’t see this as a generalization that this type of design will fade away, since it does suite for some types of websites…

  12. Tzahi Lingo says:

    So true! this trand is about to over. it was good for content-less-show-off landing but not for other kinds of websites

  13. Web design malta says:

    I have very often wondered about this and I agree with all the above. Initially it was something cool and I liked a few sites… but I got bored of it quickly. Many unexperienced people will still pick the most modern design style over functionality. I still personally have clients asking for flash!