When in Time – Timeline review

You thought we were done 🙂

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So our Timeline reviews have been a bit of a hit. Omar’s cool looking infograph made its rounds on the old blogosphere when it was published and Omar and myself felt pretty good that we had a nice collection of some good reviews that teacher’s could sink their teeth into. To our surprise we missed one. A big thank you goes out to Nisha who left a one line comment that says “What are your thoughts on http://whenintime.com?” which has led us to this very point. So this post goes out to all those unintentionally timeline creators that we missed. To find out what we think of whenintime click past the break.

Getting started is very much like the other six we reviewed. You click on a very conspicuous (that means it stands out) Sign up button in the top left hand corner. This will take you to a new window where it asks you for an active email address, a username and password. Once that is done, you’re automatically logged in. No need to verify the account which speeds things up.

Creating a Timeline
When you are in your home screen to create a timeline click on Create Timeline.

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A window will pop up that will ask you for some of the basic information such as title, you have the option to customize the URL if you wish a description, and so on. Below all this ho-hum info you have the option to see who can view the timeline and then you can chose who can edit it. This is nice, because a lot of other sites charge for this feature. The only detail is that the other editors must have a whenintime account (and as you saw that’s easy enough to do). At the bottom is an interesting feature that can allow others to COPY the timeline. I tried to find one that I could copy, but I couldn’t. There is no help section that further explains this, but I think what this means is that someone can copy to edit, add, or delete events and make it their own. It sounds a little dodgy to me, but hey, it’s a feature that the other six timeline sites did not have.

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Adding an Event
To add an event all you have to do is click on Add Event on the left hand side. A new window will pop asking you the basic information you have come to expect from these kinds of sites.

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If you notice at the bottom you can add an image by uploading a file or by linking to it by using the the URL (or web address) of that image. One thing to note, is that if you upload an image that is too big it, then the website will not allow it. I tried to upload an image that was 920 x 720 and it was rejected. I put one slightly smaller (750 x 550) and it worked OK so be aware of that.

Below that you can add an Event Source URL. This means if you want to link a YouTube video or some other media on the web, you can!

When all that is done you click on Add Event and it will take you to your timeline where you can see what it looks like.

Viewing the Timeline
Viewing the timeline is easy and intuitive. Check out a screenshot of mine below.

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You have a slider on the right hand side of the timeline which allows you to control the interval with which you see the timeline. You can change this view from hourly to century view.

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At the bottom of the timeline there is a slider to move through the timeline. Once nice thing about this feature is that there are yellow dashes that denote events. So if you zoom in too far and get “lost in time” you can quickly find an anchor and go there. Check out the pic below to get a feel for what I’m talking about.

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To check out my timeline go click on this link: The Life of Omar

And the Verdict
Whenintime.com is a pretty bare bones timeline generator. It is super easy (like the others) to get started to make a timeline. One thing that bugged me about other timeline generators were all the advertisements. It wasn’t so much a distraction as some were questionable (how many of their users want to meet Russian woman). I understand that it matters where you are, but it is a concern of mine. In fact it was the only big drawback to Dipity.com. I am glad that whenintime.com doesn’t have any. It does have “related timelines” on the side of the timeline you’re viewing but you can hide those. There is no full screen view which saddens me a little, (Actually there is. When viewing the timeline it is in the top right hand corner and opens the timeline in its own glorious window) and if you do add multimedia links (from YouTube, Vimeo, etc.) it doesn’t embed it into the timeline itself. It merely links to that page. Sadness once again.

On a nice note you can embed your timelines (I can’t embed it here because wordpress.com does not support iframe embed codes). The one thing that I don’t like about this generator is that it’s quite ugly. When you compare it to Dipitiy, Timeglider, and Tiki-Toki it looks incredibly ugly. I’m a firm believer in form follows function, but after the function has been achieved why can’t the form be improved upon? Working with attractive programs makes using them a bit more enjoyable (at least in my opinion). So I’m going to give whenintime.com 2 DT’s out of 4. It’s a solid timeline generator and I wish it had some more features (such as importing RSS feeds (Another mistake on my part. When adding an event on the right hand side you DO have the choice of adding an RSS feed; as well as a text file, a single event, or another timeline.), embedding multimedia, full screen view), but I do like how easy it is to use, how people can collaborate on the same timeline, and the fact that there are no ads. You could do much worse the using whenintime.com but I also believe you can do better.

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About Patrick Cauley

I teach middle school technology and love to play around with tech and teach students and colleagues alike. You can read my blog at www.itbabble.com
This entry was posted in Review and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to When in Time – Timeline review

  1. K says:

    You should update this review. I investigated all the timeline generators out there, and WhenInTime is BY FAR, the best. My son and I are using it together to help him get a general picture of world history.
    There are still some bugs they need to work out (like the months/days sometimes going backwards in the BC years), but it’s hands down the best thing I’ve found. NO OTHER timeline lets you do everything for free – you can even upload an unlimited number of images. (Personally, I think tiki-toki is the most attractive of the timeline generators and their 3D view is awesome, but they don’t let you upload pictures! So dumb.)
    Some things I would like to see them change:
    1. more color options for the events
    2. option to color-code when creating the event instead of having to go back and edit it after having created it (very cumbersome)
    3. an easier-to-navigate mobile version of the timeline
    4. consistency in function between browsers – sometimes I can swipe through the timeline, which is awesome, but other times I have to click on the arrows to move around in time
    5. the ability to see minimized events when the concentration is too great to display instead of having to click the generic + symbol and not knowing what you’re going to get
    6. eventually a 3D view would be awesome… we are color-coding different types of events, and it would be neat to be able to see, say blue events (western history) and yellow events (eastern history) side by side as we scrolled through time kind of the way the tiki-toki 3D view is (not that I’ve played around with that)

    There’s my 102 cents! 🙂

    • K,

      Thanks for the post – it has been a few years since we’ve taken a hard look at timeline generators and I will definitely take a good look at when in time and post a review soon.

      Yep – Tiki Toki is very appealing to the eye – no question and I like your thoughts on how to make it better. This is golden information for the developers and I’ll be sure to try and hit on all of your points in the review.

      Patrick

  2. Nisha says:

    Thanks for the corrections and the appreciation. We launched not too long ago and our first goal was to have the basic features up and running. We have plans to enhance this with more innvoation. Feedback from reviewers like you is very useful in determining how we evolve this

    • No worries Nisha. Omar and I are planning on revisiting all the timelines in the spring time of 2012 and we’ll make sure that whenintime.com is reviewed again. Good luck with everything and can’t wait to see what you guys add on to make it even better.

  3. Nisha says:

    Actually RSS feeds are already supported and there is a button on the top right that enables you to view only the timeline in a window of its own which you can maximize to full screen.

    • Nisha, thanks for the corrections. Those features were staring me in the face the whole time. That brings a lot more functionality to it. I still wish we could embed YouTube videos right into the timeline. I also wish that links to other websites would bring an image of that website. I still feel that Dipity, Timeglider, and Tiki-Toki offer the same things (and more in some cases) with a better looking finished product. Thanks again for pointing me towards this website and I’ll edit my post to correct the information.

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