Parallax Digital Storytelling

Website design has really evolved over the past few years to include interactive experiences that provide depth and movement. Parallax scrolling is a technique that involves objects and layers within a webpage moving in different directions or at different speeds. The result can be mind-blowing. The first site I visited a couple of years ago was NASA Prospect, an interactive story of the planet prospectors, left behind by NASA to recover the golden objects of humankind scattered across the solar system by a global disaster. It propelled me to begin a quest for similar digital stories that could be used with students. 

Every Last Drop is a visually stunning public service announcement to inform people living in the UK how much water they actually use in a day and ways in which they can conserve water usage. You will find yourself scrolling up, then down, then up, then down again to see how all the graphics work together to tell this story.

The Boat is a Vietnamese graphic novel that includes text, sound effects, and images that sway back and forth to make you feel as if you are really traveling on a refugee boat across the ocean. This story is particularly relevant to today’s current events as it provides empathy and insight into families seeking refuge in other countries. Turn up the volume for this one.  

The Fallen of WWII is a data-driven interactive documentary that examines the human cost of the Second World War and the decline in battle deaths in the years since the war. The 15-minute data visualization uses cinematic storytelling techniques to provide viewers with a fresh and dramatic perspective of a pivotal moment in history. The film follows a linear narration, but it allows viewers to pause during key moments to interact with the charts and dig deeper into the numbers.

After 6/4 is an incredible study of The Tiananmen Square protests of 1989. The event is told from 2 different perspectives, those that believed it was a massacre and those that perceived it to be a riot. It includes actual resources and interviews with participants in the movement.

Hobo Lobo of Hamelin is a short infinite-canvas parallax webcomic about a wolf and a town, his woodwind, and their rat problem.  

Journey to the Center of the Earth explores how far you would have to travel to reach the Earth’s core, and what you would see along the way.

After the Storm is a message to future disaster survivors. It chronicles one family that survived a devastating tornado that touched down in Alabama in 2011.

Draw a Stickman absolutely blows my mind. It may not be a great example of parallax scrolling, but it takes interactive storytelling to a whole new level. You draw the main character and props that are key to the story and the website takes care of the rest.

The Walking Dead (ok, not so much for elementary) is perfect for the zombie apocalypse obsessed fan who wants to take a gander at the inner workings of the show. The entire experience is told in the form a graphic novel. The direction of the moving screen scrolls horizontally as you learn what it’s like to be a zombie extra for a day.

Weltrade isn’t exactly educational in nature. In fact, it’s a commercial for traders looking for opportunities to increase their capital. Learn how to pose with confidence, dare I say arrogance, while listening to some smooth jazz. Have fun with this one.


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