Parallax scrolling: One page design with many problems

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?

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

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.

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.

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

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.


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