It was ten years ago when it felt like half the internet’s marketing websites had text and images sliding all around the page when you scroll. Ten years!
The first parallax website I ever saw was a Nike campaign in 2011. The shoes and other hero images would remain on the page while marketing quickly slid past it. Considering what the standard for (non-Flash) website design was at the time, it seemed like pure sorcery.
In 2012 I was living in London and working as a short-term contractor. I remember a recruiter calling me one day
“Hello, Rachel I’m [Recruiter] from [Recruitment Agency] and I have some roles I think you’d be great for. Tell me, do you know parallax?”
“Yes. Do you know it?”
I was confused because he was asking the question as if it was a specific library to know, like “do you know knockout.js?”. It turns out he was really asking if I knew how to create a parallax effect. That’s where we were in the parallax timeline: developers needing 2+ years experience in “parallax”.
It was pretty wild how everyone lost their collective minds and decided that the only was to present information to a customer was to have that information fly in from the sides of the page as you scroll, but what was even wilder is that you had to hand-code all of it back then. There was no GSAP ScrollTrigger. Ad and Creative Agency developers all over were coding up their own version of the parallax effect, tweaking their slides and fades until they were just right.
I feel a fondness for that time. My skills only extended to the front of the front end then. Back of the front end engineering was in its very early days. React wasn’t a thing yet. Most of the agencies I gigged for didn’t even use source control, you deployed by uploading the folder to the server via FTP! It was simpler to do some things but way harder to do other things at the same time.