Some quick suggestions for iPhoto (submitted to Apple on 25/03/2010).
We have alternative navigation paths to photos by people (Faces) and location (Places) but nothing particularly visual for browsing by time. Sure the Events or Photos library can be sorted by date, however this doesn’t give you a good view of the distribution of your photos over time, or easily jump to photos at a particular time.
Why not leverage the same timeline UI as Time Machine where the distribution of photos is shown in a histogram style graph down the side. Show the library of Events or Photo libraries disappearing into the distance (i.e. bottom of stack is further back in time, like Time Machine).
As your mouse hovers across the timeline, the main display will show the Key Photo for the event(s) on that day (i.e. don’t go any deeper to try to show individual photos). The idea is to find an event quickly, like a Birthday, then click on the Event or Photo library to display it’s contents in the traditional grid view.
Basically, leverage this UI metaphor across numerous forms of content in the OS. For example:
- Documents, based on version of document or backup (done, in Time Machine)
- Photos, based on date taken (as proposed above)
- Music, to browse music by era (e.g. to sort your iTunes library to view music based on when it was released)
- Web History, to view history of browsing.
You could alternatively use the Cover Flow UI (scrolling horizontally, list History in Safari) however I think that the “fading into the distance” metaphor reflects something over time better, so long as it is combined with a UI widget to also view/skip to a specific period of time (like the histogram in Time Machine).
2) Age of People
Not so great for adults, but for viewing photos of kids growing up this feature would be great. In conjunction with tagging photos with names (Faces), allow the user to configure the Data of Birth of that person. They, when you hover your mouse over a person in a photo, you could also calculate how old they were in that photo (e.g. “David (18 months)”). This feature would also allow you to search photos of a person based on their age in the photo.
3) Don’t Freeze
Hopefully this is just me, but iPhoto almost always freezes my entire iMac when I rotate photos too quickly using keyboard shortcuts (e.g. command R).