You’ve surely noticed the increasing popularity of parallax scrolling on many websites, including our own. It’s a visual approach to storytelling that we like quite a bit here at Wordsmithie. Still, a study from Purdue University in 2013 found that although parallax scrolling “enhanced certain aspects of the user experience, it did not necessarily improve the overall user experience.”
As with everything else involving any oral, visual or written communication, you have to know what you’re doing to be effective with parallax scrolling. Here are three examples that we think work beautifully.
The First Spacewalk
This is actually a digital feature story from BBC News, rather than a discrete website. The subtitle of this gripping work is: How the first human to take steps in outer space nearly didn’t return to Earth.
Russian cosmonaut Alexei Leonov made mankind’s first spacewalk on March 18, 1965, a remarkable achievement that beat the American space program. The problem was that Leonov’s spacesuit inflated like a balloon once he was outside his spacecraft, making him too big to fit back through the airlock. Time was running out when Leonov did something desperate and remarkable to survive. (We’ll let you visit the page to find out exactly what.)
The First Spacewalk is terrific storytelling, blending text, diagrams, illustrations, photos, and vintage and modern videos. A lot of this story was secret for years. Don’t miss it, check it out here.
In this virtual exhibit, military veterans explain how they use tattoos to commemorate their service. This remarkable project is a partnership between the Contra Costa County (California) Library, a collective of California’s major library systems, and a former Army medic and military sociologist. The national nonprofit group StoryCorps also contributed as an audio partner.
You’ll find that War Ink is a compelling collection of audio, video and photographic images. See Their Ink. Hear Their Stories. Enough said. Click here to see it.
iMac with Retina 5K display
It’s no surprise that Apple is excels at parallax scrolling. Start scrolling this page, and immediately get a nice visual surprise.
Every page here uses parallax scrolling effectively. Apple offers no video, only high-resolution color images that demonstrate the impact of the Retina display. The images are all stunning, of course—they’re from Apple. This microsite integrates nicely with the Apple store and other products.
Steve Jobs would’ve approved. You will, too. Check it out here.