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Since 2003, I am a Professor for Interaction Design at the Interface Design Department of the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam (FHP). Here you can find some results of my activities at the University.

Marcus Paeschke and Christian Hertlein:

Type: Class Project
Semester: Summer 2009
Institutions: FH Potsdam
Students: Marcus Paeschke, Christian Hertlein
Supervisors: Boris Müller, Till Nagel

Fontplore is an interactive application designed for searching and exploring font databases. Fontplore helps you to easily find the right typeface for your project in a collection of several thousands of fonts. It lets you browse, preview, compare and print the fonts you are interested in. It does all that on an interactive table, using tangible objects to navigate and control actions, so the workflow is easy to understand - easy to grasp!

The Fontplore setup allows us to combine the advantages of both web and print based research and to bring a completely new feeling into the process.

The interaction with the table and Fontplore is based on tangible objects.

We have a primary navigation object (round shape), which can be placed, dragged and rotated on the table. Rotational movement cycles through the fonts in the current search result, while dragging is used to select a tag or undo a selection.

The pyramid-shaped objects are used to commit actions, like preview, save, print and reset. Any number of these objects is supported, although we feel that more than three or four would be more confusing than helpful.

Both types of objects feature a tiny transparent tube in the center. By rendering a small circle just beneath the object we achieve a nice colorful illumination (almost like an LED). This visual feedback is used to communicate the current status of the object.

When a font is saved onto one of these objects (light turns green), they stay connected even if the pyramid is removed from the table (until resetted - light turns red). This feature helps you to organize your search, but should not be used for permanent storage.

Permanent storage and even better preview of your favorite typefaces can be obtained by the implemented printing feature (light turns blue). The printed pages contain pangrams in various sizes an a complete alphabet. They also contain a digital ID recognizable by the table, so when you come back with your sheet of paper, you can simply put it on the surface and continue working with it.

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