Web designShowcase

Parallax Cadillac site is a quirky masterpiece

Cool illustrations, retro animation and clever scrolling techniques combine for a winning microsite.

Cadillac site
The weight of the images was the biggest challenge for the dev team

Parallax scrolling may be on the way to becoming a web design cliche, but as long as agencies keep putting it to imaginative and aesthetically pleasing uses, there's surely life in the old dog yet.

This cool microsite, created by Newcastle agency Shout Digital, for luxury travel experts, Exsus, is another great example of the trend. Its delightfully retro cartoon scene takes you on a virtual trip along California's Highway One.

The scrolling journey seats you in a classic Cadillac Eldorado 1959 starting out in the Redwood Highway, which takes you though Fort Bagg, San Francisco, Cambria, Santa Barbra, LA, and San Diego, to name but a few. At first glance the effects look quite simplistic - but as you scroll down you'll see the site's got a few quirky tricks up its sleeve to keep things interesting.

Technical challenges

The microsite is essentially all static HTML5, explains Jen Rudd, who was lead web developer on the project. "The site is cut up into 'slides' and there are only ever two to three slides shown at any given time," she explains.

"JavaScript/jQuery is used with Ajax to call slides in and out as needed. JavaScript is only used for functional tasks like this. All of the animations seen on the site are achieved with CSS3," she adds. "The slide-switch method was chosen in order to keep the page weight down."

Weight of images

The major hurdle the team needed to overcome was the weight of the images. "I've never worked with so many very large images all on one page before," admits Rudd. "It was essential to create the compelling style we were trying to achieve. But it meant I had to pull out all of the stops to fight the fire."

That including recreating some of the images in CSS rather than using the original file. Also, "anything that could be re-used elsewhere was, and by the end of the project a whole lot of 'spriting' and compression had helped to pull it down as much as possible."

Close relationship

Throughout the design process, development and design worked very closely, Rudd reports. "This allowed for a much higher quality of animation and a much better end result. We reviewed the work daily and re-visited areas often.

"It was tough to get a handle on exactly what the site would need to really polish it until we got far into the build, which is why it was essential to always be looking backwards as well as forwards."

Cadillac site
Cadillac site
Cadillac site
Cadillac site
Cadillac site
Cadillac site

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