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There are a LOT of opinions and personal anecdotes about parallax scrolling websites, but there seems to be very little actual data. So can anyone share the results of user testing a parallax website? Or A/B testing a parallax version of a site against a non-parallax version for conversion? Or any other form of evidence not based on your personal experience and preferences?

The only thing I've been able to find so far is this graduate thesis from Purdue University. It showed that the parallax version was superior in "fun" but otherwise equal to the non-parallax version, which somehow has been interpreted as a point against parallax scrolling websites.

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    This is a little broad--data about what? Time to task completion? Conversion rates? User engagement? Try changing your question from "Is parallax good for X" rather than "Is parallax good." – Charles Wesley Jan 31 '14 at 17:22
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Note : I havent found any studies which have done a comparative study between the conversion rate of an non-parallax site vs a parallax site and the points raised below are about how parallax may or may not help in conversion.


The advantage that parallax scrolling offers is the increased level of engagement and the story telling which leads the user along the desired path and higher engagement can lead to conversion. To quote this article from the usablilla blog which highlights the story telling aspect.

Storytelling

Parallax scrolling offers the ideal setting to tell your story in an engaging and interactive way. Let your visitors take control and let them walk through your story in their own pace. The different layers that respond differently to the scrolling behaviour of your visitors create a sense of depth and even allow for multiple story lines.

Make your visitors curious

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The drink Michelberger Booze engages you as a visitor in a very creative way. At the very top of the site it says: “Just scroll down gently… When your glass is empty, click to feel the booze.” What is the booze? When scrolling down the page, you see an artistic still life setting. When scrolling further, two things happen. The watch hands rotate and the drink disappears. Then a mask appears which, when clicking on it, leads you to the booze — a beautiful, animated illustration that represents the sphere of the drink. Only at the very end of the site, you get the actual information about the drink. Still, there is almost no way to get there without engaging with the site first.

Let your visitors have some fun enter image description here

Another great example of how to engage your visitors is the site of the KRYSTALRAE fall collection. Different outfits are presented on one and the same model. The design is very minimalistic, focussing all attention on the model and the dog in the center of the page. When scrolling down the page, you can change the outfit yourself, while the rest of the scene stays the same. This interaction is simple, but fun and very engaging.

Surprise your visitors

You can also use parallax scrolling to surprise your visitors. For example, on the Japanese website of the Nissan Note, you get an entire story about the car, when scrolling down the page. This already makes it a special experience. However, once you are at the bottom of the site, there is a link that says: “Try Reverse!” The site automatically scrolls back to the top, giving you yet another version of the story.

Similarly parallax scrolling can help focus the user attention to the action trigger or the CTA in a driven approach while keeping him engaged. To quote the above mentioned article :

You can also use parallax scrolling to guide your visitors. You can guide them into your site, through a story, or towards your call to action. Tinke, a gadget for fittenss and wellness monitoring, makes great use of this guiding ability. When scrolling down the page, you see the device in different settings, explaining different features and benefits. At the end of the page, it leads the visitor directly to the call to action of the page: “Shop Now”.

Similarly as mentioned you can drive the users line of sight keeping him engaged longer and hence higher conversion. To quote the above mentioned article

Guide your visitors’ line of sight

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You can also guide your visitor’s line of sight with parallax scrolling effects. For example, when scrolling down on the site of Guy Vernes, a little character flies in from the left, drawing attention to the footer information on the right. Without the animation, this information would otherwise be very minimalistic and unobtrusive. However, the character leads the visitors’ line of sight directly to it.


The above advantages are assuming the user is already on the site. That said, parallax sites have SEO problems. To quote this article

How Does Parallax Design Affect SEO? Similar to Flash and AJAX, parallax design presents unique challenges for SEO. Most of these challenges stem from the fact that all of the content is housed on a single page, essentially giving you a one-page website.

A single-page website design makes it difficult to optimize the site for a wide variety of search terms. All of your target keywords must be concentrated on one page rather than spread out over many, leading to keyword dilution. Additionally, inbound links can only link to your site’s single page and not to specific page content.


So the bottom line is that if you are looking for in-page engagement and are not very dependent on SEO, parallax can provide greater engagement and potentially greater conversion as it keeps your users involved for a longer period of time.

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Probably not, if you find data about usage of parallax will be specific of the context of use, personal experiences are sometimes linked to your work and tests so I find difficult for someone to share their info without personal experience.

So results depends of the context of use.

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