I’ve been building a crossword puzzle app; when I told the testers I was considering one, everyone told me it was a great idea. I never realized how hard it could be.
I found a collection of “open-source” puzzles on the Internet, and built the crossword game to use those puzzles; I’ll talk about that in another blog. The game divides the screen into two sections: the crossword grid, and the list of clues.
Like with other Blindfold Games, I needed gestures for each of the major actions of the game: moving around the grid, entering a horizontal word, entering a vertical word, flipping between the clue list and the grid, hearing a clue, and hearing what words or partial words you’ve completed.
I came up with what I thought were a great set of gestures – about 12 in all. My ideas went over like a lead balloon. Out those gestures, the only ones people liked were the ones to move around the grid: up, down, left and right.
Two days later: a new version, new gesturers. This time, I scored a 6 out of 12. Two days later, 9 out of 12. Several versions later, all of the testers were satisfied.
Another major problem that people encountered was that they didn’t understand the clue when it was spoken. Crossword puzzles are designed to have difficult clues, such as “I —- sorry!”, where a four letter word, or words, gets filled in between the word “I” and the word “sorry”. The correct sentence is “I am so sorry”, and you need to fill in the four spaces with “AMSO”.
In this case, the clue would sound like “I dash dash dash dash sorry”. Hearing that doesn’t make much sense. To solve this, the game now has a voice-over enabled screen shows the clue as “I —- so sorry!”; you can move from letter to letter, back and forth as needed, to fully understand what the clue is, and solve it.
Blindfold Crossword will be available in about a month.