Parallax means “The displacement or the difference in apparent direction of an object as seen from two different points not on a straight line with the object”.
Right. Now in plain English: “In web design, parallax refers to the scrolling technique used to create the illusion of depth on websites.”
The use of this technique to create the illusion of movement and depth was a breakthrough, but In fact, it’s not really new. Creating the illusion of depth can also be traced back to older forms of media, like video games for example, but the application, for some reason, has only recently used for web sites. It’s now so common we aren’t even aware of it – it’s seems so natural. Like watching a movie, a parallax website looks so natural and real, the viewer doesn’t even know the effort involved in making it.
Back in the “Stone Age”, which for computers and software was around 1980 or so when Tetris was cutting edge, websites were essentially text and static images: It’s the difference between a poster or sign outside a storefront and an animated neon sign with color and movement to catch a potential customer’s eye and enticing them to come in and see what’s happening.
It’s subliminal. We react to color, and movement, and it’s no accident that web browsing is now the main method for shopping, amusement and even news. Any company that doesn’t have a website that catches the attention of a casual browser – be it for clothes, automobiles or canned goods, is not going to stay long in business in the web.
Web design is on the verge, if not already there, of being an art form in itself as well as a means to reach and engage potential customers and casual browsers far more than TV and magazine advertisements.