With interactive and web-based graphics, time is on your side.
An segdDESIGN Web Exclusive
By Pat Matson Knapp
Our Timelines article in segdDESIGN No. 24 set us off on some fascinating explorations of the fourth dimension and how it can be represented graphically and spatially in museum and corporate exhibition environments.
The best 3D timelines, we concluded, are brief, visually compelling, deploy physical space and media dramatically, and whet viewers' appetites for the content to come. The trick, we're told, is to resist the cliched "line on the wall."
We won't digress into a physics lesson here (although in the interests of well researched journalism, I did consult the two college-level physics professors I know), but let's just say that the representation of time in three dimensions has its limitations. So, with the help of the design staff at AldrichPears Associates and others, we discovered a cool collection of web-based and interactive timelines that we wanted to share. We hope you'll enjoy our journey through time, and invite you to share your own time capsules with us.
The Whale Hunt is Jonathan Harris' experiment in visual storytelling through a time-based sequence of 3,214 photos he took while participating in a whale hunt with the Inupiat Eskimos of Barrow, Alaska. "This is a really great visualization that is also the method for communicating the narrative of the story," says Phillip Tionsgon of Potion.
HistoryShots LLC creates "information graphics that tell stories," and its time-based works such as the Genealogy of Pop/Rock music, are compelling and richly illustrative. "It's one of my favorite resources," says Mari Chijiiwa, graphic designer at AldrichPears Associates.
On York's Gallery of Visualization site, you'll find time-related riches ranging from Minard's depiction of the fate of Napolean's army to Florence Nightingale's Coxcomb diagrams. "While not beautiful, it's a great resource for graphical explanations of temporality, milestones in the history of thematic cartography, statistical graphics, data visualization, and much, much more..;" says Chijiiwa.
What can we say that the URL didn't? 10,000 Words is a fun website in general, but we particularly enjoyed the seven visually arresting timelines featured here.
The BBC website has several interactive timelines that explore the history of Britain and its artifacts, wars, and monarchs.
No, it's not exactly a timeline. But it is time-related and lots of fun. Type lovers will enjoy this motion clock screensaver, featuring heavy Helvetica numbers dropping into water.
Fiona Pook, exhibit designer at AldrichPears Associates, turned us on to the Winston Churchill Lifeline at the Cabinet War Rooms in London. "It allows visitors to investigate each day in Churchill's life through a long touchscreen surface that spans the gallery. Very effective." We featured it in the magazine article; designer Justin Manor's video shows how it works.