A timeline visualisation using space and time to scale and represent meaningful views at all levels of zoom.

Continuum - a timeline visualisation using space and time to scale and represent meaningful views at all levels of detail.

Why develop better timelines?

Continuum is designed to rise past the limitations of timeline visualisations. Available timelines struggle to represent relationships between plotted events, if not entirely unable. For example, how can we clearly and easily show which pieces of music Beethoven composed, as well as when. Also, the usual approach to scaling and showing thousands of items is to simply zoom and out make everything smaller - often creating 'the blob'. In continuum, we use time and space both to convey relationships and semantically summarise data when scale is an issue.

Download Soon

Continuum's alpha version is almost here! By the end of UIST2007, we hope to have an alpha so you can download and play with continuum. Details about data formatting and the 5 easy steps to install the ajaxy code is in the UIST paper below.

We then hope to have a beta by the end of 2007 with some advances in functionality and plenty of annotation!

E-mail us at if you want to be told when the software becomes available. Please refer to the Who and How page above for any other questions.


  1. André, P., Wilson, M. L. and schraefel, m. c. (2007) Continuum: A Task-Based Evaluation of Temporal Visualisations. Submitted to CHI2008.
  2. André, P., Wilson, M. L., Russell, A., Smith, D. A., Owens, A. and schraefel, m. c. (2007) Continuum: designing timelines for hierarchies, relationships and scale. In Proceedings of UIST2007 (ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology) (in press), Newport, Rhode Island.

Future Work

  • How do you represent the multiple parent relationships, like when a piece has many arrangements?
  • How do you represent non-temporal categorisations, like arrangement, which may have existed throughout the breadth of the classical music domain.
  • There are many more open questions about n-dimensional temporal visualisations that still need to be addressed!