Parallax on web and mobile review

, , 02.07.2014

The new Parallax technique appears more and more on the web and mobile world. On the web Parallax design approach has been used for several years now and takes its name from the concept of parallax movement. Instead of linking from one entire webpage to another, the visitor moves up and down on the same webpage. As it doesn’t create many issues for big screen web users, it seems like it does for mobile users, especially the ones using Apple products (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and iPad Mini) on the latest iOS 7 platform.

IOS 7 promises – I quote from the iOS 7 video – “a clear representations of simplicity, clarity and efficiency. True simplicity is derived from so much more than the absence of clutter and ornamentation, it’s about bringing order to complexity.” As it proves to be more “real” than ever before, it seems like the “parallax effect” as Apple calls it affects a consistent part of us. Having too much of that on a static gadget is not just an overkill but can also trigger motion sickness, nausea, or simply impossibility of use.

Parallax effect is a pretty way of referring to background and foreground motion as your line of sight changes. Looking through the open blinds of a window for example can give the feeling that what we see in the background moves in relation to the blinds and the other way around. You can find out more about it here.


iOS 7 is simulating this by having the phone’s gyroscope and accelerometer relate to the operating system visual effects. So basically if you move your phone while looking at the screen, the interface elements and icons “float” above your background image.

The problem that some may consider it nonessential and offering no functional advantage may be something to be overlooked when having a mass review on the product. However, reports on Apple’s official discussion board uncovers rather the dizzy end-user issues to be a far more problematic than expected.

Parallax can be turned off in Settings > General > Accessibility > Reduce Motion. So can Dynamic wallpapers in Settings > Wallpapers & Brightness. Message bubble bouncing, folder and app zooming, not so much. The fact that there is an option in turning some of these effects off means that Apple may have foreseen a part of this end-user issue, but probably not enough of it.

For many people the iOS 7 parallax effect is cool, dynamic wallpapers amazing, the Messages bubbles fun, the folder and app zooming transportive, and so on. For the rest seems to be pretty much of a turn off. It is impossible to decide on the number of the affected people by the new features of iOS 7 but one thing is clear, people are talking about it and asking apple to get more focus on the matter. If things will see change in the new iOS 8 or along the way, it is only to be seen.



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Ionut B
Digital Art Director with an innovative creative thinking able to translate ideas and concepts into useful and memorable interactive marketing campaigns.

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