Timeline apps make teaching and learning so much fun. When I say teaching and learning, I am not just referring to a classroom environment. Timelines come in handy whenever you plan to transfer knowledge – sales presentations, reunions, board meetings, family gatherings etc.
Earlier, I had the opportunity to review a timeline app and I was thoroughly impressed by the concept as well as the app. Aeon Timeline is a similar tool for creative and analytical thinking. It claims to be different from the rest of the crowd by equipping you with tools to create more than just one dimensional timelines. Time to check it out!
Aeon Timeline is available on the Mac App Store and from their online store as well. In many cases, apps listed in the app store do not offer a trial version to test it out. I was glad to see a trial version from their homepage. It wasn’t the usual time limited trial version either. For a change, the app counts the days when you actually run it as the trial period.
In total, you have 20 days to try the app and these days could be spread over many weeks. In fact, I tried this app over a few months without running out of the trial period. IMHO, this is a better alternative to the standard time bound trial period.
Creating a Timeline
For niche apps like Aeon Timeline, templates are a great way to help the users to find their way. On the left pane, you can see the types of available templates and there are two skeleton and two fully loaded samples to get you started.
A simple two pane interface at launch actually underplays the powerful featureset of Aeon Timeline. This is evident when you start building a timeline or check out the samples.
Adding events requires description and a date to start with. Additional information – tags, notes and the arc the event belongs to – can be added as you see fit. Choose the color codes right for depicting events from the same arc and to refine the results.
People and Relationships
Aeon Timeline’s potential lies in its ability to bring people and relationships to the forefront. Instead of being just a slight upgrade to a traditional slideshow, the app makes a real effort to connect the most important ingredients behind events and timelines – the people.
More than dots on a never-ending line, model the relationships between events and the people, places and ideas that make that event reality. The app even calculates the ages for you!
Filter events based on people, places, and tags. All you need is a sequence of events and the app will ensure that you weave a beautiful storyline irrespective of however complex it might be.
Concurrent Story Arcs
We all know that every event acts as a trigger and multiple new events tend to be created as a result. You might want to consider adding alternative paths someone could take, discrepancies in narration or just divide events by ideas, place or person. That’s where the concurrent arcs feature comes in handy.
You can easily model parallel, concurrent arcs and manage them all from a really convenient interface.
Filters and Navigation
With so many events, people and relationships, things might get out of hand real quick and thus leading to confusion. A range of filters to see events according to people, places, arcs, labels, and tags bring in clarity if a timeline becomes complex. The Context Bar will ensure you never get lost.
Aeon Timeline is as flexible as an app that narrates a web of events can get. You can navigate your timeline, and add, delete, shift and edit events with unobtrusive simplicity. Zoom in to view the time scale you wish to see and lock events to prevent accidental edits.
After spending tens of hours recreating complex events and arcs, it’s only natural to ensure that it doesn’t get locked in a desktop app. Apart from allowing you to export timelines in a number of standard formats, Aeon Timeline also lets you synchronize your timeline with Scrivener to keep your plans and drafts in sync.
Apart from the major highlights mentioned earlier, one quirky little feature caught my attention. It’s the option to create your own fancy calendar. With a fancy calendar, you don’t have to stick to the January to December organization we all are used to. If I’m not wrong, this feature would make the lives of the fans of inter galactic and middle earth fiction so much fun.
Aeon Timeline is intuitive to use and works like a charm. But, the user interface is a letdown and doesn’t compliment the amazing app. The bland interface (a competing app lets you create 3D timelines) is uninspiring and brings down the overall user experience by a notch. Except for that part, Aeon Timeline is a fantastic app that helps you weave complex timelines together and is worth every penny!