Read on for some background about this app and my role in the process.
WhatTheFont is a tool that has existed on MyFonts for a long time, since 2000 in fact. The original version was based on a system that looked for outlines of letters and tried to match them up to glyph outlines of fonts in the database. This technology worked sometimes, but it had a lot of places where it failed, such as when a user uploaded an image of a connected script, an image with a dark background color, or an image with multiple fonts. Users still loved WhatTheFont and used it daily, in spite of these flaws. It was time to update it with modern technology.
The engineering team used modern deep learning technology to create a neural net that was able to identify any font on MyFonts. It was trained on actual images uploaded by customers, making it really smart about imperfect real-life images. Once this back end had been created, that was where I came in. We decided to start with a mobile-first approach and make a mobile app for WhatTheFont that made it super easy to identify fonts on the go.
The strength of the back end made it possible for me to create a super simple interface for the app. It only takes two steps to get to the font results: snap a photo and the app will automatically find all the text in your photo. Tap the text you want to identify, and then you'll see the results right away. Some quick user testing proved that this was the right approach, and we moved into development.
I was the product owner for this project, enabling me to ensure that we shipped a high quality app that fit the design. Working closely with the app development team was good, because it meant that when a few changes inevitably came up, I was able to make design tweaks and we stayed on schedule for the release. In fact, half way through development, we discovered that we had to make a somewhat significant change to the user flow due to a technical constraint. This turned out to be a happy accident though, since I was able to modify the design to make it even simpler than the original version (which had three steps rather than two). I think it's a testament to the close working relationship that we developed that in spite of these hitches in the process, we were able to come up with solutions that merged technical and design constraints beautifully.
We launched this app on October 31 and the response has been great, including coverage by TheNextWeb, 9to5Mac and FastCoDesign. I believe this is my work to date. Please let me know if you try the app, I'd love to hear what you think.