You wouldn’t imagine that to be a good Website developer, you would need to be well versed in astronomy. But in fact, many modern Websites use an astronomical concept to make Websites more dynamic.
In astronomy, “Parallax” is a difference in the apparent position of an object viewed along two different lines of sight. The term is derived from a Greek word “parallaxis” which means alteration. Nearby objects have a larger parallax than more distant objects when observed from different positions, so parallax can be used to determine distances between different objects in the sky.
In Website design, we’ve used Parallax scrolling since 2011, which is where background images move slower on the screen that the foreground content slower than foreground content. Developers use parallax backgrounds as a tool to better engage users and improve the overall experience that a website provides, without having to create costly animations or videos. Basically, it is a cheap and easy way to make movement on your site without having to do a lot of work.
You can see an example in this template – watch how the car background moves at a different pace as the rest of the website as your scroll down. The same is true with the background to the testimonials section further down the page.
Is it Parallax scrolling for Websites a good thing? A study by Purdue University showed that Parallax websites were rated as more “fun” by participants in their study, but there was no overall benefit over Websites that scrolled in a more ordinary fashion. So it isn’t a bad thing, but it doesn’t appreciably change how people use your website either. As time goes by, this technique will probably be replaced with different ideas. And as Website developers, we’ll be here to use them.