Massive animated/scrolling overwhelming websites. What's the deal?


Jri

Jri

Member
#1
I'm not sure where this lives as it's basically just me ranting incoherently about websites that irritate me, so I've dumped it here.

What is the term used to describe these kinds of stacked websites, where all of the content seems to be mushed into a sort of banded arrangement, one item on top of the next on one vertical scrolling page? Usually they're a mess of rollovers that animate as you go past, often with some kind of 'floating' menu that bounces around based on how far you have scrolled.

Example 1
Example 2

The odd thing is that visually, they are usually executed with some kind of design sensibility (the animated movements themselves usually seems to be stable enough, the fonts and palettes are generally OK), but functionally they baffle me.

Is it just me that gets annoyed by the sandwiched-content-scrolly websites? I find them so hard to navigate and overwhelming.

Maybe I'm just used to designing and redesigning a simple user-friendly portfolio site where the M.O. is a basic descriptive menu on the homepage that takes you to a specific and relevant linked page without any peripheral distractions?

Why are they so popular (I just need someone to reassure me that I still have taste and that it's the rest of the world that's wrong!)?
 
Paul Murray

Paul Murray

Moderator
Staff member
#2
Are you're talking about the parallax scrolling effect, when backgrounds scroll slow than the content at the fore-front? It's just a design trend, and a bad one at that. It's flashy and looks modern, so people want it. Monkey see, monkey do.

Parallax isn't great from a user experience point of view as it's distracting, and is actually bit of a nightmare to code up, plus it gives you a lot of unnecessary code. This can lead to slow loading times and a hit to your search ranking. For me, that second example loads very slowly, and when you finally get something it just looks like a generic Wordpress theme, complete with hero-slider (TERRIBLE for UX as you're essentially hiding content away from users!).

Animations and scroll effects can be used to great effect to call attention to something. I actually use them on my own portfolio when the work loads in, though it's mainly to make my site look less static and look impressive to clients who maybe want to hire me. I think that's the crux of it. Most businesses want something that looks the part, and don't actually consider how many users are actually annoyed or confused by such trends.
 
Jri

Jri

Member
#3
THANKYOU!

You know, I couldn't put my finger on what it was that pissed me off about them - but that's it, it's the parallax effects on the backgrounds. I feel like a weight has been lifted off me.

I've seen them applied beautifully to give the illusion of depth, where the background layers are of, say, a distant city scape and the foreground layer is made up of gaussian-blur-faux-out-of-focus street detritus like lamp posts and birds on telegraph wires and it looks amazing. But then again, most of them feel like I'm falling out of a skyscraper past windows of rooms filled with tastefully lit scenes of wood shavings and hideous groups of hipsters crowded round their lattes and laptops.
 
Paul Murray

Paul Murray

Moderator
Staff member
#4
It's like anything, when used in moderation and with purpose, it can dramatically improve the user experience by giving them feedback about their actions. It signifies to people that either they're doing something, have done something, or interacting with that element will do something. Using animations and hover effects for the sake of using them defeats the purpose of using them in the first place.
 
fisicx

fisicx

Active Member
#5
I've seen them applied beautifully to give the illusion of depth, where the background layers are of, say, a distant city scape and the foreground layer is made up of gaussian-blur-faux-out-of-focus street detritus like lamp posts and birds on telegraph wires and it looks amazing.
On the other hand I think they look awful.

A lot depends on the putpose of the site and the target visitor. If your site promoted cheap socks I can't think of any reason for any sort of animation. But if you were showing off your new sports car then then it could add a dramatic feel to the site.
 
Jri

Jri

Member
#6
But then again,
Yeah, it all depends on context. Typically I can't find any good examples at first glance on google - but this one comes close to what I was trying to describe. It can look good when used to imitate landscape style perspective paralaxing.

I saw one somewhere that was a San Francisco street scene with street cars etc, scrolling revealed a sort of dolly-zoom effect (like on Jaws where he sees the shark). Looked great.

[Edit: Just to clarify, I hate the effect in general!]
 
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