Using parallax shift has become a popular effect lately. It's popularity has risen as a design choice across the web and has even made its way into the new iOS7. The concept is relatively simple: elements on the screen move and scroll at different rates to give the illusion of depth. 

In the following example the basic idea to achieve our desired effect is that we're going to bind a function to the scroll event. That function will move an element by some defined factor. The jQuery example below will give you an idea of how this works. In our example below we are altering the background image position of a given element and moving it around faster (by a factor of .5) than the rest of the elements on the page when we start scrolling.

$(window).bind('scroll', function(e) {
  $('#myElement').css('background-position', '0px' + (0 - (document.body.scrollTop * .5)) + 'px');

Note that background position is not the only way to move an element on a page. We could have just as easily decided to move our element based on the css property 'top' or 'left' to move and element vertically or horizontally on the page. You can see an example of this on the first demo (link at the bottom of this post).

and just because Knockout.js is awesome let's make a binding handler to easily apply our effect.

ko.bindingHandlers.parallax = {
  init: function(element, valueAccessor) {
      var value = valueAccessor();

      $(window).bind('scroll', function(e) {
        $(element).css('background-position', '0px' + (0 - (document.body.scrollTop * value.speed)) + 'px');

The usage of this binding handler is relatively straight forward. We simply apply our binding handler to an element and specify a value to represent the speed of the parallax shift.

<style type="text/css>
  #parallax-bg {

<div id="parallax-bg" data-bind="parallax: { speed: .65 }"></div>;


Here are a couple pages that demonstrate the technique: Demo 1 and Demo 2