Control which photos show on your timeline

We’ve recently made some changes to the way you control which photos appear on your Twile timeline.  Here’s how it works…

Photo event on the timelineWhen you have an event that contains photos, Twile will automatically select up to three of those photos to show on the timeline.

If there are more than three photos in the event, the timeline images will be selected at random – and you’ll see a count of how many other photos are available inside.

Love photos to show them on the timelineIf you have some preferred photos that you’d like to see on the timeline, simply open the event and click the heart “love” icon on each photo you like.

Twile will give preference to any photos you have “loved” when selecting the three images to show on the timeline.

A fresh, new look for the Twile timeline

Today we’ve launched a new version of the Twile timeline, designed to make your family history look even better!

We’ve introduced a number of changes to make everything clearer, brighter and easier to use.  Your milestones have more colour, your photos are larger and you can see more about each event without having to click and open it.

New design for a Twile eventThe new design makes photos stand out more and shows how many photos are waiting for you inside the event.  We’ve removed some of the clutter on the timeline events to return the focus to the most important information.

Descriptions on the Twile timeline

And you’ll also see that any descriptions or comments you’ve added to your events will now show on the timeline – this makes it easier for you to tell the story of your family history and add context to photos.

You don’t need to do anything to see the new changes – they’ll be there for you when you next login.

As always, we’d love to hear your feedback on our latest changes.  Please let us know what you think of the new design by adding a comment below or sending us an email to help@twile.com.

Timeline of the Tour de France

Halfway through this year’s race, we’re celebrating the Tour de France with a timeline of its 114-year history.

The Tour de France is an annual bicycle race in France, which occasionally passes through neighbouring countries too. It started in 1903 with a 2,428km round-trip route from Paris and has been held every year since, with the exception of the years during World War One and World War Two.

This year’s Tour de France started from Düsseldorf in Germany on 1 July, following a 3,540km route to the Champs-Élysées in Paris on 23 July.

Our Tour de France timeline shows the evolution of the race and the sport, as the route has lengthened, the moustaches have shortened and the clothes have tightened. Follow the story from the first race, via the World Wars, Lance Armstrong’s doping controversy, right through to Britain’s Chris Froome winning the 2016 race.

Turn your history knowledge into a Twile timeline

Could you help us add more history into Twile?

Over the last year we’ve added a number of world history “streams” to Twile, allowing you to see your ancestors’ lives in the context of what was happening in the world around them.

We started with a timeline of World War 2, via the American Revolutionary War and most recently a timeline of French Presidents.  We’re adding more of these streams over the next few months, but would like to offer you the opportunity to share your own history knowledge with other Twile users.

If you have a topic you’re knowledgeable and passionate about, please get in touch and we will set up a new (free) timeline for you to build.  It may be something global – war, politics, sport, entertainment – or something local, such as the history of your own community.  You’ll be able to share the timeline online, embed it into your own website or blog and – of course – add it to your Twile family timeline.

Simply add a comment below this article or send us an email to help@twile.com and we’ll get in touch.

Add alias or “known as” names to your family tree

You probably have at least one person on your Twile family tree who was (or is) known by a name different to their given name.  For example, my grandmother was given the name Dorothy as a child, but was known as Joan all of her life.

Previously, there was no way to enter these “known as” names in Twile, but we’ve now filled that gap.

To add an alias name for somebody on your Twile family tree:

  1. Move your mouse over them on the tree
  2. Click ‘Profile’
  3. Click on their name (near the top)
  4. Enter a value in the “known as” field, alongside their first name
  5. Click ‘Save’
  6. Now their alias name will be displayed anywhere you see that person in the tree or timeline

This has always been a much-requested feature in Twile, so we’re really glad to finally have it in there for you.  Please add a comment below to let us know what you think.

Add notes and words to your timeline

Sometimes you just want to add some words to your Twile timeline, to help tell the story or to describe an event that you don’t have any photos for.  Our latest addition to Twile allows you to do just that.

Adding a text event to a Twile timelineNow when you click the ‘Add’ button at the top of your timeline, you’ll see a new option: “Add an Event”.

Choose that option to open up a new, empty event – ready for you to add a title, description and anything else you like.

Any “words” you add to the story will be displayed on the timeline, so it’s a great way of adding a narrative to your family’s story.

New feature for managing access permissions for your family

We’ve just added a new feature to Twile that lets you control how other family members can contribute to your tree and timeline.  Until now, people you invited could edit your family tree (which isn’t always what you’d want), but weren’t able to make changes to events on your timeline (though you might sometimes want them to).

Permissions when inviting family membersWhen you invite people now, you’ll see a simple slider control that lets you specify whether that individual can add, edit or delete people on your tree and events on your timeline.

If you choose ‘Add’, they will be able to add people to your tree and add their own timeline events (or photos to yours), but won’t be able to change or remove anything you’ve added.

If you choose ‘Edit’, they will be able to add their own content and also make changes to what you’ve added to Twile – for example, correcting names, places or dates.

If you choose ‘Delete’, they will be able to add their own content, make changes to your people and events, but also remove people and events that you’ve added.

The permissions you grant your individual family members will only affect people and events you have added.

Permissions inside a person's profile on the family treeOnce a family member has been invited, you can always change the permissions they have at a later date.  You’ll find the same slider control inside the profile for each person on the tree.

Move your mouse over a person and choose ‘Profile’ to see these options.

As always, we’d love your thoughts on this new feature.  Does this give you the control you need?  Any suggestions on how to make this better? Please add a comment below or click the ‘Talk to us’ button when you’re logged into Twile.

Add an Easter milestone

It’s Easter weekend and we’ve just added a new Easter milestone to the Twile timeline.  Add your photos and memories from this Easter or from previous years.

We often get asked by genealogists why we have such “unusual” milestones on our timeline – they’re familiar with births, marriages, deaths, census, emigration, etc., but aren’t sure why they’d want to add holidays, Christmas or house moves.

At Twile, we believe that recent family events are as much a part of your family history as those from 100 years ago.  If you don’t tell the story of your own life and your parents’ lives, future generations will never know the details.

I’d love to know about the various houses my grandparents lived in or where they went on holiday in their lifetime, but no census records or certificates can tell me that.  I add these types of milestones to my Twile timeline so that my grandchildren will know what my life was like.

So whatever you get up to this Easter, take some photos and add your memories to your Twile timeline.

To add an Easter milestone:

  1. Click the ‘Add’ button at the top of your Twile timeline
  2. Click ‘Add a milestone’
  3. Click ‘Easter’ within the ‘Holidays’ section
  4. Set the date, location and add any photos you have
  5. Click the ‘Add’ button

Import your Facebook photos to your Twile timeline

Do you have photos in Facebook that you’d like to add to your Twile timeline?  We’ve made some improvements to the Facebook import in Twile, which will help you to update your timeline with the memories you share on Facebook.

A lot of our effort at Twile is spent on finding ways to make it easier for you to share and preserve your family memories.  We know that many of you already share photos with friends on Facebook – why upload them again to Twile if you can just import them with a couple of clicks?

We’re always looking for ways to engage the younger generations with Twile – we hope that our integrations with services like Facebook (and Instagram coming soon!) will play a part.

How to import photos from Facebook

Add button in Twile timeline

  1. Click the ‘Add’ button at the top of your Twile timeline
  2. Click ‘Import from Facebook’
  3. Login with Facebook if requested
  4. Select the photo albums you wish to import
  5. Click ‘Import’

Twile will automatically add events to your timeline, using the photos you’ve selected.  They’re added to the right point on the timeline, making it much easier to explore your Facebook content in context with the rest of your recent family history.

As always, we’d love to hear what you think of our Facebook import feature – please leave a comment here or click the ‘Talk to us’ button inside Twile to talk to one of the team.  Where else would you like to import photos from?

The technical challenges of running a growing startup

While we are constantly trying to add new features to your Twile timeline and family tree, I thought it might be useful to give some insight into how much time is spent simply ensuring Twile runs smoothly behind the scenes.

One of the things we love about building Twile is the close relationship we have with our customers.  We have always actively encouraged our customers to give us their feedback and reach out when we can help in any way.  And our customers clearly appreciate this level of conversation – something they very rarely get from other online brands.

The feedback we receive makes it much easier for us to build the features that customers want to use.  Pretty much everything we add into Twile has been directly or indirectly requested by our users.

Unfortunately, there is also a large amount of development work needed that doesn’t lead to shiny new features.  As Twile has grown (we’ve been around for nearly four years now), we’ve had to adapt many technical aspects of Twile to accommodate the requirements of our audience.  Who knew you guys could have 50,000 people on a family tree?!

And as we add new features to the app, we have to review its look-and-feel and layout, to make sure it still has the minimalist simplicity that our customers have told us they love.

Fortunately, we have a great team of developers who are experts in all of the above.  Every single piece of Twile that you either can or can’t see has been designed and built internally by Twile’s own developers.  We’re very proud of them 🙂

So, please keep your suggestions coming – we love to hear your feedback and we take on board every idea or request you send our way.  We have to spend a lot of our time maintaining the existing features and keeping Twile running smoothly, but we’re also working as hard as we can to add all of the features you’re hoping for.

And we have some very big features coming soon!