Exploring a Parallax Universe – the pros and cons of parallax scrolling

July 10, 2012

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Parallax scrolling – sigh! Love? Hate? Hate? Love?

If you ask our NZ web designers this is one for butterflies. But if you turn to an SEO or web writer you’ll most likely get a concerned look. At ninetyblack we have battled it out and have come up with a list of pros and cons of parallax scrolling websites.

They look awesome

First up, there’s no doubt about it: parallax sites look awesome. There is nothing more powerful than a stunner image taking up every inch of your computer screen. For that reason our own site is parallax and we wish we could get away with every site we design being parallax! The advantages of parallax scrolling is not just about web designers’ decadence. If done well, the unusual look captivates visitors, making them spend more time on your site, scrolling up and down to their heart’s content.

So why not?

The trouble is: people have to find your site before they can browse it and be converted. This is where the weakness of parallax scrolling lies. Parallax website design is simply not SEO-friendly. Parallax scrolling means your entire site is in one page. Therefore, you lose out on meta description and title tags, one of the most important factors to determine rankings. Whereas regular websites give you the opportunity to target keywords in meta tags on each individual page, with parallax you rely on one set for the entire website. Aside from that, having multiple H1 headers on one page can’t be great either. Typically a website has one big H1 header per page with sub-heads to follow, but on parallax websites you have all those big headers competing with each other since they’re on the same page.

What’s more, having so many images on one page can make your website slow to load – one of the main factors causing a person to leave your site right after clicking on it is slow loading time. Of course, they’re straight off to your competition. Finally, parallax scrolling websites are difficult to design responsively to work on mobile devices. You would have to go for a separate mobile site if you chose parallax.


Although all these shortcomings are perfectly valid, web designers will always come in with a big BUT, simply because parallax website are so sexy. Just browse through this website and you’ll agree. So what’s the solution? ninetyblack’s fundamental philosophy is that form and function have to meet in the middle and to achieve that we always put site performance and user experience ahead of our own egos and opinions. Expressed in one of our other blogs – you can’t always design what you want, you have to design based on what is going to achieve the best outcome for the client.

So here’s how we go about it: when we use parallax scrolling on a website designed by ninetyblack, we still use separate pages instead of using anchors to navigate around one page. We would, for example, have a homepage feature to show off the parallax effect, but it definitely doesn’t want to distract the visitor too much from the content they were originally looking for. That way your site will look fancy, sexy and clever but it will still do the most important thing, perform in searches and against competitors.

So if you would like to re-vamp your website or get a new, well-performing parallax website choose ninetyblack!