How to Scan?
My Travel Story
Thank you for downloading the first ShopSavvy version for iPhone – version 1.0. Our current release was sent to 100 beta testers, many of whom provided VERY detailed feedback that made it clear that our barcode scanning feature could use improvement. First, we didn’t provide any sort of scanning hints – i.e. guides, arrows or pointers. Second, our scanning technology supports both legacy non-AF camera such as the ones found on the G2 and G3 as well as the newer AF camera found on the 3GS. We are going to submit a new version on Tuesday that should help resolve many of the scanning issues by including scanning hints and a different library for the AF cameras found on 3GS. In the meantime, I figured it might be smart to explain how to scan a barcode using ShopSavvy Version 1.0:
- Light. The most important thing is to scan in a well lit area. Most of the time we find that scanning problems are related to low light. Make sure there is plenty of light.
- Hold it Still. Try not to shake. Try to hold at least one of the items perfectly still. This is especially true on the 3GS because you need focus to scan. (the update should reduce this problem because it will be 90% faster)
- Glare. Of course in well lit areas there is often glare caused by bright overhead lights. This is especially true on high gloss items. Make sure the glare is not over the black lines of the barcode.
- Shadows. Just as glare hides the barcode from our view, shadows can prevent ShopSavvy from scanning your barcode. Make sure there are no shadows over the barcode.
- Alignment. Try to hold the item at the same angle you are holding the phone. The more angle between the barcode and the phone the longer a scan will take.
- Double Barcodes. Sometimes, expecially on books, there are two barcodes next to each other. Often the UPC is the bigger barcode on the left and the smaller barcode on the right is the ‘suggested retail price code’. If you include both on the screen ShopSavvy can get confused. Try to ONLY include the bigger UPC barcode. (the update will mitigate this issue by filtering out the small barcode)
- Proximity. Try holding the scanner pretty far away and SLOWLY move closer until the item scans. Once you get the hang of the right distance you won’t need to do this, just hold it at the approximate distance and you should be good to go. But don’t move in and out – try to keep the item at a single distance for a period of time, maybe a second or two. (the update will provide hints to make this easier)
- Item Selection. Don’t use page scanner to scan food items. First, they don’t have great coverage and at the end of the day price comparison isn’t important on bottled water. Second, the barcodes are often on curved surfaces and ShopSavvy has problems with curves. (the update will work better on curved surfaces)
- Focus (3GS). Since you have an auto-focus camera the barcode MUST be in focus. (the update will make this easier)
- Focus (2G/3G). Since you have don’t have a focusable camera – don’t worry that the camera is out
of focus – it will still work.
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