What makes a web project come to life?
Questions answered by the originator of linaa, Günter Ackermann
The idea for a timeline web application was born a few years back. I was keen on keeping track of my living quarters and work places. However, the timeline tools of the time – 6 years can feel like a very long time ago – did not offer visually attractive layouts.
Also, the majority of the timeline services we were trying out seemed to be used predominantly to document the lives of important historic personalities, such as presidents and movie stars. Many of these public timelines looked abandoned and where possibly only set up for a very quick school project.
So what kind of tool would it take to create personal timelines that people would use for their own life?
We were trying to come up with a tool to create a timeline that could portray your life, giving you a great overview of your images, events, phases and even numbers. So the question was, how could images and documents be integrated without getting lost in endless scrolling?
We were also looking for a way to incorporate categories, such as ‘vacations’, ‘jobs’ or ‘pets’.
The very first mockup of the graphic interface took a linear approach with photos arranged horizontally on a time ruler, but we soon found it too restricting when it came to navigating through a vast collection of images.
We then sought a way to make zooming in and out more of a seamless experience.
So what was the solution? The photo area and the graphic linear visualization was now split into to two areas that compliment each other.
We’ve had to take quite a few new approaches up the path to the first public version of liniaa. The graphic user interface was overhauled several times with the goal to make editing as intuitive as possible.
Designing an application feels like tapping around in the dark, but we knew it must all be there, only to be discovered in creation.
liniaa was developed in our spare time in tons of hours of work. We all took our turns with motivational ups and downs. It took a few years and several injections of revival spritz to finally pull through. Persistence won at last.
So who will be using this tool?
We look forward to a new start when we finally launch this timeline software, and most of all to the input from our users, so we may finally get to know them.