I’m a bit cynical. No, really, I am.
So when I spotted a link to a parallax-scrolling site this morning, my heart sunk. “Not another one!” I thought. Still, I clicked anyway because I’m also a masochist.
You see, like a lot of these ‘trends’, the long scroll, parallax website has been done by almost everyone. It’s got to the point where web archaeologists can date a website from its use of visual or technical trends. Sites that have no right using parallax scrolling do it anyway. Because it’s a trend.
Personally, I’d rather creative use was made of any technical trick such as this. Otherwise all sites can end up looking the same, whether they’re for a soft drink manufacturer, a shoe brand or a clothing brand.
Imagine my surprise when the site, Highway One Road Trip, was actually really lovely to look at. It’s playful. Cute, even.
And rather than doing a Sn*wfall and being filled with loads of text and some full-screen images, it actually uses the parallax scroll to great effect.
Even more than that, it has a lot of other interactive content. Clicking on elements takes you off into new realms, so you can actually experience what it’s like to drive a red Cadillac down Route 1 in California. Almost. You’ll certainly learn some interesting facts and perhaps want to take a road trip along Highway 1 yourself.
That is, after all, the main idea behind the site for their client, the luxury tour operator, Exsus.
If you don’t fancy the drive, you can create your own postcards from specific points along the way. And share them.
The award-winning, creative digital agency behind the site, Shout Digital, aren’t even from California. Oh no, they’re from the not-so-warm-and-sunny Newcastle-upon-Tyne, in the northeast of the UK. It’s a lovely place, but if you are planning to visit them, wear a hat this time of year would be my advice.
This kind of immersive experience is becoming the norm on the Web, as brands and media owners begin to realise that users are willing to invest time in a website or article, but only if it really grabs their attention and delivers value (be it excitement, knowledge, or a mixture of both) in exchange for their time.
And it’s that last bit which is the most important thing to remember: make it worth my while.