Font QA Survey for PhD.

Hi everyone,
if you type geeks have time (5 mins max.) to fill my PhD. survey on Font QA, I would be very grateful.

I'm (hopefully) starting PhD. on Bratislava university VSVU in Autumn 2021 and I'm kicking off with short survey on how people in font industry think of QA and the tools available these days. My goal is to do extensive research in this field and prepare new on-line tool that help independent designers to produce better fonts. One of the main reasons is also that many of the tools are only usable by programmers, for people outside this bubble it's rather hard to get any working. This new tool should be very easy to use and give human readable response what should be fixed.

Here it is: https://forms.gle/8o4xRninh82EHnzPA

Thanks a lot for your time.

Comments

  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,720
    You’re asking “geeks” who have invested a lot of time learning complex type-making tools to help you create competition for them, from people who won’t have to work as hard. 

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  • Craig EliasonCraig Eliason Posts: 1,151
    You’re asking “geeks” who have invested a lot of time learning complex type-making tools to help you create competition for them, from people who won’t have to work as hard. 

    Maybe so, but much of TypeDrawers itself could be described similarly!
  • George ThomasGeorge Thomas Posts: 584
    edited May 3
    [deleted]



  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,720
    @Craig Eliason Maybe so, but much of TypeDrawers itself could be described similarly!

    True, although more status-quo mutual backscratching.
    I certainly admire Jan’s transparency, but I was just pointing out that his appeal was not very appealing.
  • Matthijs HerzbergMatthijs Herzberg Posts: 108
    edited May 3
    I think that more accessible/user-friendly quality control tools would be a welcome addition to the type world, and I wouldn't rule out that more advanced type designers could potentially benefit from it.
    @James Montalbano I don't see anywhere that this is Google-affiliated, the survey is just through a Google form.
  • Ray LarabieRay Larabie Posts: 1,096
    I could always use some better QA tools. A one-stop testing suite that's kept up to date would be useful.
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  • Jan CharvatJan Charvat Posts: 8
    You’re asking “geeks” who have invested a lot of time learning complex type-making tools to help you create competition for them, from people who won’t have to work as hard. 

    I don't want to build the tool on my assumtions only, because that would inevitably lead to failure. My aim is to do research on this topic and come with some sort of standard, that would reflect the actual process done by most people. And yes I need to ask type designers, font engineers, geeks, everyone, mostly because there are no guidelines, no books, documents in this field. As many others, I was thrown in this huge pile of technicalities without any resources. I got to know by trial and error, by asking others in the field and some things I haven't figgured out till today.

    I find this the only aproach to build this tool - scientific, backed up with specs, there should be no room for assumptions or personal taste.

    The tool won't fix anything, it will just give you a report, so you still need a person, who will fix it. On easy level fixing missing glyphs, I don't really consider FE work, and on higher levels you still need expertise to fix it anyway. I see this tool as oportunity to get rid of everyday boring, repetetive tasks to do something more interesting, or to at least finish more in less time. Also it will offer much more consistency in your output.

    Do you need to get to know all about photographic process to use camera? Do you need to know how every piece of car is working to drive it? You still give it to technician, right? And some people won't, they fix all by themselves and build their tools. And some people will share their tools public, so others don't have to figgure it by themselves. I'm for democratization and opensource I don't mind sharing.

  • While variable font online testing has loosened attitudes a bit lately, I think you will find that, on the one hand, there is still a fair bit of reservation toward using online tools for proofing WIP fonts. Even if you mean to make it browser-only, you are asking users to trust your tool with their IP or possibly violate NDAs. Also, a browser-only tool might not be able to address some issues like hinting previews, different OS and application environments, or might be difficult to configure for project specific preferences. On the other hand, if you are serious about font QA a manual drag and drop online tool might not be what your users are looking for, because they cannot integrate it into any automated workflows.
  • Jan CharvatJan Charvat Posts: 8
    While variable font online testing has loosened attitudes a bit lately, I think you will find that, on the one hand, there is still a fair bit of reservation toward using online tools for proofing WIP fonts. Even if you mean to make it browser-only, you are asking users to trust your tool with their IP or possibly violate NDAs. Also, a browser-only tool might not be able to address some issues like hinting previews, different OS and application environments, or might be difficult to configure for project specific preferences. On the other hand, if you are serious about font QA a manual drag and drop online tool might not be what your users are looking for, because they cannot integrate it into any automated workflows.
    That's a good point. The whole service will be opensource and have a repo on github, anyone could download it and install it on local server I suppose. So that could be solved this way. My server will operate on https. Not sure how much more I can offer as a webservice. I may ask some server developers what is possible, so people are not breaking NDAs or at least if there could be workaround to make sure the pure data are not stored (maybe some sort of hashing, like passwords?)

    Sure, this tool won't do all the work for you. Indesign you reinstall every year and many other programs may will become obsolete or new programs will come into place. So I would leave this part out, it would be too complicated to address. With hinting it could at least generate preview of all the glyphs in all sizes you need (not much I know). I not sure about rendering the screens, if I could find a way to do it.

    This tool will also be part of wider system of services and I need it to be on server, on-line, doing tests on the fly. I also don't want to get into Windows/OSX development as I have no skills there.



  • Thomas PhinneyThomas Phinney Posts: 2,062
    A bunch of the questions are binary, when the answer is often or usually going to be “both”:

    Do you test your fonts before you export them from Font SW or after?
    Both, but this is not an option. (Assume that “SW” = “software”)

    Do you use internal / external QA tools?
    I would bet that >90% of those who use internal QA tools ALSO use external QA tools.

  • Jan CharvatJan Charvat Posts: 8
    edited May 4
    A bunch of the questions are binary, when the answer is often or usually going to be “both”:

    Do you test your fonts before you export them from Font SW or after?
    Both, but this is not an option. (Assume that “SW” = “software”)

    Do you use internal / external QA tools?
    I would bet that >90% of those who use internal QA tools ALSO use external QA tools.


    Ok, good point, I changed these to checkboxes. Thanks!
  • Roel NieskensRoel Nieskens Posts: 151
    edited May 5
    Browser tools can be 100% compatible with any NDA, EULA or other abbreviation.

    For instance when using Wakamai Fondue, you load the site once, and then the communication with the internet stops. You use the font locally, on your own machine. You can load up wakamaifondue.com, unplug your internet router, and still use the site al day. So if you're allowed to use the font for anything on your own computer, you're allowed to drop it in the fondue. (The current version has basic Google Analytics, but not regarding any font you drop, and the beta doesn't and will not have GA anymore.)

    So reservations against online tools are understandable but aren't necessarily justified. If you're worried about data collection or breaking NDAs or EULAs, I presume Adobe software is just as scary, but probably ignored since it's not seen as an "online tool" :-)
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