8

First, let me define what I mean by parallax scrolling homepage with a few examples:

It tells the user a story, letting the user scroll through the story at their own pace.

Personally, I find these kinds of pages bothersome and just quickly scroll to the bottom, hoping to get to the end, but this got me to wonder about a few questions:

  1. Do people really read the content on these kinds of pages?
  2. How does it fare when compared to a static page that tries to drive the same point?
  3. Does it have any advantages over 'traditional' homepages?
  • What do you mean exactly by "traditional" homepage? A wall of text with some spec tables sprinkled around? – Lie Ryan Mar 4 '14 at 2:04
  • @LieRyan of course not, I mean a homepage that uses other means to tell the product's story. – Omer van Kloeten Mar 4 '14 at 8:25
  • 1
    A 'traditional' home page = 2 minute flash intro. :) – DA01 Mar 4 '14 at 19:46
5

All the examples you have quoted are examples of parallax sites which use shifting content to tell and story and keep the user engaged.I am going to break this response into three parts.

The reasoning

I would recommend looking at this article for additional inputs on how parallax sites keep users engaged.

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

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.

enter image description here

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.

The study\Research

That said,there is no concrete information which shows that a simple site vs a parallax site would perform poorer except for this study which showed that the user journey was similar for users on both sites except they found these parallax scrolling sites to be more fun :

So Frederick set up a study of his own. He designed two hotel websites similar in every way, from content to color scheme, except that one featured parallax scrolling and one did not. Frederick then intercepted 86 people in the lobby of the Stewart Center, a main gathering point on Purdue's campus, and brought them to a computer where they engaged with either the standard site or the parallax site (screenshot below).

The test itself didn't last very long. Participants spent a few minutes getting familiar with whichever site they'd been assigned. They entered demographic information into a web form. (They all experienced a site error, too, because Frederick wanted to incorporate the unruly nature of web use.) They made a hotel reservation. Finally they rated the site on a questionnaire crafted from prior web research.

Frederick's survey focused on five areas of the user experience: usability, enjoyment, fun, satisfaction, and visual appeal. (Enjoyment and fun, while ostensibly similar metrics, differed in that a site like IMDb can be enjoyable without being fun in the way a video game site might be.) Before he tallied the results, Frederick was convinced the parallax site would blow its opponent away.

"I've read from many blogs how people say it's going to attract users and create so much of a better user experience," Frederick tells Co.Design. "I thought it was going to be superior to a typical website in every aspect."

As it happens, the parallax site was only superior in one sense--fun. None of the other survey measures indicated a significant difference in user experience between the two sites. Parallax didn't even edge the standard site in questions about visual appeal (although participants did think it looked slightly more "professional"). Frederick also discovered one critical disadvantage of parallax: test participants who suffered from motion sickness found the style disorienting.

Conclusion

  1. Do people really read the content on these kinds of pages? - There is no comprehensive data on this but the higher levels of engagement would perhaps ensure the users do go through all the content
  2. How does it fare when compared to a static page that tries to drive the same point? - As per the above mentioned study, there is not much difference in conversion, but there are obviously higher levels of engagement
  3. Does it have any advantages over 'traditional' homepages? - Higher levels of engagement and potentially higher levels of conversion.
  • -1 an article that has "x reasons" and "is awesome" as its title is not one I'd trust as empirical evidence. In fact, that's mostly just a 'this is cool' type of opinion piece. That is fine, but not something I feel we should be quoting as UX research by any means. – DA01 Mar 4 '14 at 19:48
2

It sounds like you're asking only one question.

Regardless of the type of landing page, the answer is: it depends. The reading time and conversion greatly depend on the source, the overall linking strategy, the number of visits and many other parameters.

Usually lots of A/B testing and copywriting efforts go into the final design of these landing pages.

So yes, we can assume that visitors spend more time on these pages and that they have a higher conversion rate.

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