Telling time

Nelson Mandela: 
Some stories have a strong element of time to them: someone’s life, a series of events. A timeline is often a wholly appropriate method for describing what has or will happen.

A client recently wanted to use exactly this method of storytelling to share the peaks and troughs of activities covering a period of just over 5 years. They wanted to be able to give a rich experience of photographs and videos from that time and to provide links to useful resources.

In helping them find a solution to their requirements we explored both the possibility of building from scratch or an off-the-shelf solution. I was most impressed with an open source project I found, TimelineJS.

Knight Lab, stemming from Northwestern University, is a cross-discipline collaboration best known for delivering a suite of tools for media makers. TimelineJS is one of their mature products - already on version 3 - and is widely used by respected news outlets such as Time Magazine, CNN and Le Monde.

Revolutionary Interfaces:
Whilst there are other tools available, some for a subscription fee, I found TimelineJS to be very elegantly designed and developed and all for free! It is highly customisable and - depending on your technical and security requirements - can be used in hosted mode, embedded into your own webpages or downloaded and hosted on your own infrastructure. Customisations can be made to styling and functionality: so if you’re a little more technical (or have access to developers) you can make beautiful timelines that adhere to your branding guidelines.

This kind of tool can be so useful for public communication, journalism, and education.

Check out TimelineJS:

Timeline JS3 - Beautifully crafted timelines that are easy, and intuitive to use.
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