When we were younger a bunch of us would meet up over the weekends, drink beer or coffee and solve the Saturday and Sunday crossword puzzles in the paper.
Once we started having kids this was difficult to maintain, and eventually the ritual faded away.
I had the idea that we could try bringing some of that magic back solving crossword puzzles over the Internet via our phones. Surely there's an app for that?
There wasn't. Now there is.
What is the target audience?
In the broadest scope it is anyone with a smart phone and an interest in crossword puzzles. Realistically people who read newspapers tend to be good candidates,
as do people with an interest for language or word games in general.
Are there ads in the app?
Yes there are ads enabled by default. Subscribing to sharing capabilities will also remove the ads.
What's with the "XWordScanner" name?
Crossword Scanner is too long for most device home screens. XWordScan fits nicely as the shorthand for XWordScanner.
How is the app able to "see" the crossword puzzle?
This was and is the crux of developing Crossword Scanner. In particular the realization that the scanning needs to happen real time (ie.the live preview) adds complexity.
Technically the scanning process has three main parts, each in turn broken down into smaller steps:
Image processing to extract the pixels expected to be useful to the crossword
Finding the logic that forms the actual crossword in these pixels
Determining where there are clues, open cells etc.
The first two are the most critical as they happen every frame.
How does the sharing / collaboration work?
There is no automatic pairing to solve with random people, so two (hopefully) friends must:
Both install the app
Both let the app know who they are by creating a user or signing in with Facebook / Sign in with Apple / Google / Microsoft
Both subscribe to the sharing capability
One must then scan a crossword and use the invite button to include the other in the puzzle
What are your main competitors?
There are no apps quite like Crossword Scanner on the AppStore. Several popular crossword games exist such as the excellent New York Times Crossword.