Monday, August 30, 2010

5.0 Feature of the Day: Timeline Indicator

More new stuff!
In VFX 5.0, space/time data that happens to fall outside of whatever range you have displayed in the Timeline is denoted with a little I'm-over-here arrow.  So, if I've moused over an item on the map or in a chart and it's timestamp is before or after the Timeline's range, then you aren't at a temporal loss; the blinking arrow informs you of the relative when-ness of the item (hey, I happened over here!).

If I hover over an item in the List or on the Map it will also ping in the Timeline (and vice-versa).  But if the item falls outside of the Timeline's current range, then you get a flashing I-happened-over-here indicator.

Coupled interaction indicators rule.  Three times the bang for your interaction buck!

This feature is an extension of the efforts VFX takes to tandemize coupled visualizations, making them more contextual and in line with the navigation behaviors of users (all towards the grand goal of providing more meaning).  I'll be posting some more VFX 5.0 features of this ilk in the days to come, so, naturally, get ready to live.

One fun element of product development is the spawn-like nature of features.  A popular new feature will, more likely than not, expose an opportunity for even more features in later releases.  For example, now that we've got this out-of-range indicator in the timeline, why not someday have an out-of-map indicator at the edge of the map when I mouse over something in the timeline or in a chart that happens to fall outside of the map's extents? Awesome.  We just put that on the list!

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