Creating an interactive timeline can be a great way to engage your learners and add another level of interest to your story. In this blog we show you how to easily create one following a few simple steps!
What is an interactive timeline?
An interactive timeline is simply one where your audience can engage with the links and tags embedded within it to access more information or features. Whether you’re creating project timelines for business purposes, explaining historical events to students, or simply putting steps of a business process into chronological order, there are a few key things to keep in mind when creating one. Here are some tips on how to creating timelines that will capture your audience’s attention.
1. Choose the software you want to use
The good news is that you don’t require a dedicated timeline tool or timeline software! The easiest way to create this sort of content is to combine two online tools: Canva and ThingLink. There’s even a handy Canva integration within the ThingLink editor – read more about that here.
Canva was designed to be the world’s easiest graphic design tool, with a super simple drag-and-drop interface that even beginners can use easily and a huge bank of tutorials as well as essential timeline templates that you can adapt to make our own timeline. Want to present your timeline as a graph or a Gantt chart? There are templates for that! The free version has lots of useful features but there is Pro pricing which provides premium features like Brand Kit, Premium Templates, Magic Resize, 100+ million stock photos, videos, audio, and more for a modest monthly fee.
This example below – created in Canva and ThingLink which show that there is no need for an interactive timeline maker if you combine these two powerful tools.
This example shows the progress through ThingLink’s Certified Creator Course, showing the modules as milestones on the course roadmap.
If you prefer to use a familiar tool like Microsoft PowerPoint or Google Slides, take a look at our blog covering how to create interactive infographics in PowerPoint: all the same basic elements apply for a timeline.
2. Gather your materials – photos, videos, text, etc.
Top tip: When working in Canva and ThingLink, both tools allow you to work collaboratively. Just ensure that your colleagues are your Canva Team members or, and that you give them access to the folder that you are creating your work in in ThingLink.
User example: This example below is a simple left to right timeline created by the Anglo American School in Moscow using ThingLink. They have simply added information as text in the tags along the timeline, but you can also add images and videos just as easily in these text and media tags!
3. Create the basic structure of your timeline
Its also worth checking out the infographics templates in Canva as many of these can be used or adapted as timeline infographics. Once you have chosen your template, edit the font, colours and other graphic elements to make it truly your own or to match your brand!
Once you are satisfied with your timeline, download as a jpeg or png file and upload to your ThingLink account. If you don’t already have an account
4. Add interactive elements like hotspots and pop-ups
This is where you use ThingLink to add the interactive elements to your Canva design! You can add images and text using the Text and Media tag. Or you can use the Embed tag to add a huge range of apps and tools – from third-party iframes or YouTube/Vimeo videos to Excel, google sheets and so much more. Or take a look at the timeline below (another example that shows that timelines don’t always have to be straight lines!). In this example created with ThingLink and Canva by educator Amanda Pickard, there are links via tour tags which take you to additional ThingLink scenes such as a bear hunt in a wood. There are also videos and other interactive infographics linked in there – take a look around!
For more ideas, watch our short video below on creating interactive timelines
5. Preview and test your timeline.
Its particularly important that you test on mobile devices if it’s likely the content will be viewed this way! If the multimedia tags need moving around to make it easier to read, now is your chance!
6. Publish your timeline creation online or share with others.
Congratulations! You are now an interactive timeline creator! Your timeline can be shared as a link, as an embed code, shared on social media or even downloaded to view offline on the ThingLink app (available for both Apple and Windows).
How do I update my timeline?
- ThingLink is a cloud-hosted platform, so any changes that you make to your content will update in real-time wherever they are shared or embedded! If you want to change the background of your content, simply makes the changes on Canva, download and use the Replace Background function in ThingLink.
- What else can I make interactive with ThingLink? The list is endless! Take a look at these selected blogs which showcase some of the content which can easily be made interactive.