The Complete Guide to Parallax Effects in 2019 – Part 1

In the first part of our Parallax guide, we explain what parallax effects are and why you should be using them, and explore the different parallax variations you can now use in Elementor.

I’m a web designer. You know the drill: Photoshop, Illustrator, layouts, and wireframes. But some time ago I noticed that more and more people were throwing that awful 4-letter word at me: code. I was starting to get anxiety attacks from everyone telling me that if I didn’t learn to code a bit, I’d find myself unemployed in a few years max.

I even once believed that in the future, all designers would also have to know how to code.

It was crazy!

I started spending money that I didn’t have on overpriced code boot camps and wasting every weekend on HTML and CSS only to realize that, yeah, I kinda suck at coding. I could handle some simple CSS animations with relative ease, but trying to get complicated stuff like parallax effects, flexbox, or different micro-interactions to work, felt like mission impossible. It just wasn’t my thing and was far too time-consuming to learn.

But my fears turned out to be unfounded.

Today, there are tons of solutions for non-coders like me who want to create complex, parallax websites and keep the clients rolling in. And of course, to do it all without that dreaded 4-letter word (C-O-D-E).

Of all the various options I tried, the one I ended up going back to almost every time is Elementor. It just made my life so much easier, that I stopped looking for other solutions when creating new websites.

So here in this article, I’ll briefly explain what parallax effects are, tell you why you should be using them, and then give you some specific examples that you can start implementing in your websites straight away without coding.

What Is the Parallax Effect?

Before we dive into the semi-technical stuff, let’s make sure we’re all on the same page here and define what it is that we’re talking about.

The parallax effect is a very popular design feature that is commonly used on WordPress websites. In short, it’s a scrolling effect where the background images move slower than the foreground elements, giving the illusion of three dimensions in a 2D space. It’s been featured heavily in the gaming industry for years but has recently crossed over into web design as well. So far, this major trend shows no signs of slowing down, if anything it seems that it will continue to increase in popularity.

Parallax & Gaming. Credit: Cadillacs & Dinosaurs

But it’s not all fun and mid-‘90s video games. Here are 5 good reasons that you should spruce up your sites with parallax and give them a modern feel. 

Why Parallax Is so Brilliant

1. Improved User Experience

There are still some people who would say that parallax is an unnecessary feature that just over complicates the UI. Those people are wrong.

Research has shown that micro-interactions and animated user interfaces are key elements when it comes to making digital interfaces engaging and useable. It’s like UX eye candy.

2. Reduced Bounce Rate

If you’re not sure what a bounce rate is, it’s definitely time to learn. Bounce rates are the percentage of site visitors who either hit the ‘back’ button or close the tab before checking out other pages on the site. High bounce rates have a pretty significant impact on your SEO ranking, so any step you can take to bring that rate down is worthwhile.

That’s one of the great things about parallax sites – their bounce rates are lower by default since they’re single-page scrolling sites. Plus, parallax gives the user the type of dynamic experience that tends to keep them on the page longer anyway. Bottom line: win-win!

3. Kick-Ass Storytelling

Humans have an innate ability to process information that’s presented in the form of a story. Without a doubt, incorporating storytelling into a site or app is a big boon to the UX. A great thing about parallax scrolling is that it creates such an engaging and immersive environment for a story to unfold in.

When done right, the pacing of the elements can match that of the story to really draw the user in. Parallax allows you to dynamically reveal details of your product as the user goes through the narrative you created for them. Someone once described parallax as a digital pop-up book that users just can’t put down.

4. Enhanced Engagement

When done right, the parallax effect gives the user the feeling that they’re in control and that they choose to engage with your site. With people’s ever-decreasing attention span, parallax is a huge factor in keeping a user engaged. Static texts and elements just aren’t going to cut it anymore. Users are looking for those eye-catching animations.

5. It’s Fun!

One last reason to use parallax? It’s super fun – and not just for the user! As a designer, you’ll breathe new life into your work and find all kinds of inspiration while wielding this awesome technique. Just check out KRYSTALRAE for really creative use of parallax scrolling. The minimalist design lets you focus on the model and how the clothing changes. The possibilities are really endless if you use your imagination.

And since we can now do it easily and without code, you’ll have a blast using parallax. I found that I started to get so many new and creative ideas from parallax that it really enhanced my designs. I believe that if the designer is having fun then so will the user.

50 Shades of Parallax Effects – Let’s Get Hands-On

First, set up a WordPress environment and install the Elementor plugin. Once you’ve got it up and running we can get to the fun stuff. 

You know those amazing, award-winning websites that, when you see them, they make you wish you had a developer just so you could make something that awesome? Well, times have changed; now you no longer need anybody’s help to make those next-level sites.

With Elementor’s most recent release, you can actually do exactly what those websites are doing without coding at all.

All of their parallax effects are based on one of two elements: scrolling through the page and the movement of the user’s mouse.

In our previous article where we introduced the Motion Effects toolset, we talked about all of the different things you can do with it.

This time, let’s examine all of the different parallax variations you can now use in Elementor and go over some best practices. Get ready to be inspired.

Scrolling Based Parallax Effects

Parallax Background Scroll

This is one of the oldest tricks in the parallax book and a great place to start. Changing the background while scrolling will allow you to tell the compelling story you wanted to tell.

Credit: ESPN

Parallax Vertical Scroll

If you want to give your users the feeling of floating elements that move with them at different speeds while they scroll, try a vertical scroll. Notice that you can use multiple layers in order to do so.

Parallax Horizontal Scroll

Let’s say you created a mock-up for a project, but it’s a bit dull and you want to spice it up. Flying a shuttle into the middle of the screen using horizontal scroll should definitely do the trick.

Parallax Transparency Effect

If you want to get that fade out transition effect while scrolling, you can now do it super easily. Use it to reveal a new topic, just like they used to in wheel of fortune.

Parallax Blur Effect

No, not the ‘90s band. We’re talking about that smooth effect where an image or text slowly fades away as you scroll down, or fades back in when you scroll up. Now you can scroll down like a pro, just don’t look back in anger!

Parallax Rotate Effect

Ever wanted to have a DJ astronaut? No? Well, it’s the best use case I’ve seen for the rotate effect so deal with it.

Parallax Scale Effect

This one lets you create that zoom in, zoom out tunnel effect. It might get a bit weird so use it responsibly.

Mouse Based Parallax Effects

It’s not all about the scroll though. Here are some eye-catching effects based on the movement of the user’s mouse.

Parallax Mouse Track

With mouse tracking, you can create elements whose movement is based on the movement of the cursor. You can make the elements follow the movement of the mouse or move opposite from it. And in Elementor, you can easily control the speed of the effect as well.

Credit: http://benandmartin.com/

 

Parallax 3D Tilt

You can even play around with the angle of the image a bit and make elements tilt from side to side, creating that sweet 3D movement effect.

Now It’s Your Turn

As web designers, we should be focusing our efforts on creating delightful experiences for our customers, we don’t want to waste time on stuff like learning how to code.

Elementor will allow you to bring your clients the best possible designs while remaining realistic about time and costs. It’s crazy how you alone can now make a website that looks and feels like a team of developers worked on it with you. 2019, I’m starting to like you!

In the 2nd part of our guide, I will show you step-by-step how to utilize Elementor’s varied parallax effects. Now, it’s your turn. Download Elementor and level-up your web design game.

Do you have any other features or tricks you think can only be implemented by a developer hand coding them? Let us know in the comments section below.

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About the Author

Yuval Keshtcher
Yuval Keshtcher
Solving problems for different companies using visual design and content. Founder of UX Writing Hub, the first UX writing course in the world.

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