Degrees of Parallax

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Tuesday Chutter

As a phenomenon, parallax occurs when an object undergoes an apparent change in position relative to the distance of observation. Used on a digital screen, parallax depends on the movement of the screen by scrolling or swiping, rather than movement of the observer, in this case, the user.

You may have encountered parallax lately if you are an iPhone user; it accounts for the floating app icon effect on the most recent operating system, iOs 7.

We recently implemented scrolling parallax in a project to supplement the visual wow factor, and we think it’s pretty effective!

Applied to the night sky, parallax gives the illusion of celestial elements moving at varied speeds depending on your observation of them.


Our implementation is meant to be refined and subtle, an extra visual indulgence for those with an eye for small details.

We at The Jibe are happy to point to some of our favourite (and extensive) site implementations to show where you can take the parallax effect:

This fashion retail site uses parallax in a very smooth, functional manner. We particularly like the sliding outfit changes.


Promoting the movie Life of Pi, this site uses parallax in a unique way to show the digital construction of a CG tiger; it is notably overwhelming otherwise.


We like this one because it is straightforward and usable with its sticky navigation menu, working nicely without need for a pre-loader.


Used here to carry visitors through an interview, parallax effectively builds a visual world around the story being told. The thread of the falling person is a perfect directional element.


Parallax is all about creating a dynamic experience, a type of digital environment wherein the user manipulates perspective. Although engaging, it is important to gauge the degree of distraction parallax brings to a site. As with any technology, it can get in the way of the site navigation and distract from the real calls-to-action (CTA).

The golden rule is to keep a vision for user experience in mind – parallax can bring an extra layer of visual interest, or immerse visitors in a virtual whirlwind of stimuli.