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Lessons From Time100

Posted by Sravan | May 12, 2009 .

Time100 is an Adobe AIR app showing with the most influential people of the world in the last six years (2004-2009) divided into five categories (Leaders & Revolutionaries, Heroes & Pioneers, Scientists & Thinkers, Artists & Entertainers, Builders & Titans) scattered across the globe based on their geographical locations.

The user can navigate across the globe and click on any of the personalities to read more about them. The profile pages, which seem to be articles written by friends of the personalities, are quite pleasant. The app is intuitive.

Barack Obama on Time100

While there are no other features, Time100 is appealing because of the content. But content alone.

First, I can’t understand why many sites that host AIR apps using these install badges check whether the user has a minimum required version of Adobe AIR before proceeding with forcibly installing both AIR and the AIR app. Why not also provide a direct link to the download of the .AIR file alone?

For the first 10 minutes after starting Time100, the app maintained its “Loading Data” state consuming an average of 75% CPU and making 3M context switches in that time (compared to my anti-virus which took 24 minutes for 3M context switches)! I wondered whether this app like Hulu worked only in select countries.

 Lessons From Time100

The second lesson, which is nothing new, is the essence of responsive software. I am now working on the GUI performance of an enterprise product and believe me, users find a more responsive software as also a better performing software. A regularly responsive slow software wins over non-responsive faster software. Progress bars exist for a reason.

The app doesn’t seem to cache either. I can’t be sure of this, but I haven’t found any corresponding folder. One would expect it to load data at least partially after the initial caching even when not connected to the Internet because there is no authentication or authorization. Not happening.

Another problem I faced: try selecting Ted Turner. I think zoom should have been allowed.

Time100

The app is from Time Inc, and is “brought to you by HP”. You can install the Air app (along with Adobe AIR) from its download page on HP or download it directly from here.

Eismann tells us that Time100 was developed by Eric Natzke, an interactive designer. Check out his amazing work. I can’t believe that these are ActionScript generated. Awesome.

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