What does history look like? How do you draw time?
From the most ancient images to the contemporary, the line has served as the central figure in the representation of time. The linear metaphor is ubiquitous in everyday visual representations of time—in almanacs, calendars, charts, and graphs of all sorts. Even our everyday speech is filled with talk of time having a “before” and an “after” or being “long” and “short.” The timeline is such a familiar part of our mental furniture that it is sometimes hard to remember that we invented it in the first place. And yet, in its modern form, the timeline is not even 250 years old. The story of what came before has never been fully told, until now.
This looks like an interesting book on the visual representation of time. It will be interested to find out (when it’s available) whether it has many examples of the tangible representation of time hidden in there. Either way, I’m sure it will provide inspiration for designing new temporal-TUIs.
For a similar look at the visualisation of time (in HCI), Marilyn Mitchell has a number of interesting papers including “Representations of time in computer interface design” [pdf direct link].