Designing an Email Application for Tabletop Interfaces in Instrumented Environments

  • Diplomarbeit (6 months) or Projektarbeit (3 months)
  • Start: immediately
  • Supervisor: Sebastian Boring
  • Required skills: Object-oriented programming language, Interaction Design

Project Description

The Fluidum project investigates interaction with and organization of different types of information in instrumented environments. The instrumented room in the basement of Amalienstra▀e 17 is equipped with a large interactive conference table that uses pen-based input. Because of this, using traditional email applications is not feasible due to scrolling and/or browsing through different messages and folders. Thus, new interaction techniques need to be investigated.

One idea is to use an interface that is related to the physical world. This means, that it uses a minimum set of interactions implemented as gestures. Additionally, messages are represented as sheets of papers and may be archived as piles. Several questions arise with this technique: How are new messages be displayed within a pile? How is the user able to organize his or her email messages? How does the interface represent menus and how can they be activated? One solution might be the usage of marking menus.

Overall, the interface needs to have several attributes to perform well on a tabletop system. It needs to be mode-less, i.e. the user can use the system (and all its functions) without triggering a new mode. Furthermore, the system should not have a menu known from window-based applications as they are not easily accessible with pen-based input. And finally, the system needs to use handwriting recognition (already provided) to allow the user to write an email within the interface.

For a project thesis, the student is expected to implement the interface described above using a practical representation of messages and folders. Additionally, s/he needs to implement the possibility to write and send an email. For a diploma thesis, the student is also expected to explore the problem of privacy as the table is a semi-public display. Therefore, s/he might use one of our tablet PCs in addition to the tabletop system.

paper-pen-1.jpg paceblade-1.jpg

Project Flyer (pdf)

-- SebastianBoring - 21 Aug 2006
Topic revision: r3 - 10 Feb 2007, RichardAtterer
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