News That’s Even Easier to Use

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Web site splash screen intros can be really cool. Except when you have to sit around watching the word "Loading" flash for two minutes first. Such is not the case with the Associated Press's experimental, and very fun, Timeline Reader. Using new Web technologies supported (and rendered in the blink of an eye) by Internet Explorer 9, the page quickly introduces itself with slick animated graphics that slide right ouf of the way to reveal the content you're there to see.

This content comprises the day's headlines laid out on a standard horizontal timeline. It's a nice interface for following breaking news, but the Timeline Reader offers several cutting-edge features that make it even better. For example, it lets you select which categories of news to include, instantly updating the timeline to reflect your preferences. And when you roll your mouse over an entry in the timeline, you get a larger preview with an option to open the full text right in the timeline interface, without ever leaving the page.

Coolest of all, if you'd rather read stories later, you may add them to a personal queue. The queue replaces the default timeline with one showing only your stories, and from there you may read them at your leisure. What's more, even if you close your browser, you'll find your queue and your settings just as you left them when you revisit the site.

The Timeline Reader's magic depends on a new technology called Web Storage, which allows sites to establish small databases on the user's hard drive, with enough space and structure to store not only your preferences but your saved content. The more a site makes use of local storage, the less stuff it needs to pull down over the Net, and the snappier everything works.

This story, "News That’s Even Easier to Use" was originally published by BrandPost.