British Monarchy : Sparkling timeline

An interactive pageant puts a reign on parade.


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The Site

The Diamond Jubilee. official commemoration website of the 60-year reign of the UK’s Queen Elizabeth II, provides an engaging interactive history. The Diamond Jubilee includes a Timeline in its Games and Learning section. The feature’s landing page consists of a one-paragraph overview of its scope, a montage of reportage photographs from the past 60 years. A START link leads to the timeline itself. Beginning with The Queen’s accession in 1952, the timeline can be browsed by decade from a set of links along the top of the main panel or by year, via ‘<’ and ‘>’ icons. The timeline scrolls horizontally when users click on these icons. Each event plotted on the timeline has one of three coded colours: red for a Royal event, blue for a UK event and orange for a world event. Events appear in coloured boxes along the timeline, each featuring a headline and thumbnail image. Clicking on a specific event launches a caption and larger photograph in the main panel. Clear icons are used to indicate which events provide links to YouTube videos (opening in a new window on the British Monarchy’s official YouTube channel or slideshows). Where they are available, slideshows can be browsed using the same mechanism as the main timeline.

The Takeaway

The Diamond Jubilee timeline successfully blends strong content, varied formats, clear design and intuitive navigation to create an engaging online resource. Integration of video clips and image galleries is subtle, while their use is judicious. For example, galleries are used to illustrate The Queen’s meetings with US presidents and British prime ministers over the past six decades, while video is used to show some of her most significant speeches and broadcasts. The blend of Royal milestones with UK and world news events helps to place the core subject of the website into a broader context, while ensuring that the material appeals to as wide an audience as possible. Finally, unlike many (Flash-based) interactive timelines, this (non-Flash) offering is accessible in full-featured form by iPad and iPhone users. If the ‘<’ and ‘>’ navigation mechanism became a ‘swipe’ navigation mechanism on touch screens – which it does not – then this impressive timeline would truly sparkle.

http://www.thediamondjubilee.org/timeline
First published 05 June, 2012
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