Avoid parallax website designs

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You’ve probably seen some recent websites that use very long scrolling pages that often touch on several topics – it’s as if several pages were combined. These are often referred to as parallax style sites. (Technically a parallax site is one that also simulates a kind of three dimensional look with the plane closest to you moving faster than the plane(s) that are father away. But the term parallax has been also been more generally applied to any site with long, scrolling pages.)

They’ve been kind of the hot thing for the past few years.

I’ve never been a fan of new or creative just for the sake of being new and creative. I’m more concerned with effectiveness. And parallax sites bothered me both because they present additional SEO challenges and because I think it’s harder for people to find what they’re looking for when several topics are combined on the same page.

And now I have some evidence to back up my feelings (always a good thing). I recently converted a client with a parallax style site to a more traditional one with shorter pages organized by topics, and easily reached with drop down menus. The result was an instant 50% increase in the length of the average visit.

This was easy to spot in Google Analytics. You could see that the average length of a visit jumped immediately with the launch of the redesigned sites.

So my advice: avoid parallax website designs. Experiments are worth trying, but don’t stick with them unless they beat the control.