The objective was to create an interactive timeline for events in Nanotechnology. I wanted to tailor the content and design in the timeline to school children and people who have some idea about science but not much idea about nanotechnology. For interacting with the timeline, I wanted to make it more playful, so I started with this idea where users could interact with the nanobot on the timeline to navigate. Also, there was a section on the right of “Who”, “What”, “When”, “Why”, “Where” questions that show text or images on hover or clicking on them.
I got feedback from the critique in class, most important being that I had a lot of whitespace to handle. Using that and also trying out an idea I had initially of putting the timeline in perspective with either events in history or events in Space Exploration (a subtle hint of scale comparison) , I came up with the wireframes below.
Since the timeline on the right giving too small an affordance to the user, I decided to bring in the center, where it will be more clear and easy to use. This led me to think of the idea where the interactive timeline can be like a book which the user reads through. Hence, the events could also be navigated through using the tabs of the pages (something like tabs in a diary/journal). The timeline in the center could act as the divider of the pages in the journal.
An interesting problem with the design above was that , the timeline in the center was sort of an anamoly. The tabs would help the user flip through pages from left to right. However the timeline in the center contradicted this because the user has to move the nanobot vertically to interact with the timeline. Also in general we perceive the increase of time from left to right. So I decided to keep the design simple and removed the timeline with the nanobot in the center.
Also, I decided to have an equivalent event in the history of space/astronomy on the right page which would put the importance of the nanotechnology event in some perspective. This content would initially be grayed out and the user can click on the link to highlight it.
The link to the timeline – http://naduism.com/design/nano-timeline.html
1) Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org
2) Timeline of Astronomy, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_astronomy
3) History of Nano http://www.discovernano.northwestern.edu/whatis/History/HistoryPopup
4) Nano Werk http://www.nanowerk.com/nanotechnology/introduction/
5) Nature Nano August 2010 Volume 5 No 8 Cover Photo
6) The Foresight Institute, http://www.foresight.org/nano/applications.html
7) The Van Duyne Group, http://chemgroups.northwestern.edu/vanduyne/research_overview.htm
8) Camp Internet, Home School Campus, http://www.rain.org/homeschool/chemistry/img/atom1.jpg
9) Highlights in Chemical Technologies, http://www.rsc.org/Publishing/ChemTech/Volume/2008/05/nanoscale_detection.asp
10) IBM Research History Highlights, http://www.research.ibm.com/about/top_innovations_history.shtml
11) STM Image Gallery, http://www.almaden.ibm.com/vis/stm/gallery.html
12) Fraunhofer IKTS
13) TopNews.in http://www.topnews.in/artificial-black-hole-lab-generates-hawking-radiation-225323
14) C60 Molecule, iStockphoto.com/David Freund
15) Biological Applications of AFM, http://www.chembio.uoguelph.ca/educmat/chm729/afm/applicat.htm
16) PhysOrg http://www.physorg.com/news141920703.html
17) Astroprof’s page http://astroprofspage.com/archives/1100
18) StarChild, http://starchild.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/StarChild/whos_who_level2/gagarin.html
19) Nanotech Web, http://nanotechweb.org/cws/article/tech/32707
19) Nanotech Companies, http://nanotechcompanies.us
20) Thompson, Michael “Latro: Algae Powered Lamp” http://www.miket.co.uk/images/Latro.pdf