Great insights in the creation of Facebook’s latest feature. Read the entire article: Designers Behind Facebook Timeline: 5 Keys To Creating A UI With Soul.
Nick Felton and Joey Flynn say that when creating a page to tell someone’s life story, you have to throw out the UI rulebook and study how people recount memories.
Facebook’s Timeline wanted to do something more: It wanted to convey a feeling. Two feelings actually: The feeling of telling someone your life story, and the feeling of memory–of remembering your own life.
One of the primary decisions that had to be made was what the basic organizing framework would be. If you ask someone to tell you the story of their life, Flynn explains, they don’t tell it chronologically (“In 1999, this happened, in 2000, this happened,” etc…). Instead, they talk about moments. So the team experimented with a framework around the important moments in a person’s life: When they got married, for example, or special birthdays.
Facebook wanted the Timeline to be a place for self-expression: A way for users to reveal who they are and what their lives are about. The team experimented with giving a users a lot of control over various design elements on the page–different kinds of photo borders, so you could use an elegant border for a wedding photograph, for example, and a sporty one for an action shot.