QR Codes: Ready for Prime Time?

Great post from Paul Merrill on QR codes:

It’s as if each company said, “We need to get something out there with a QR code on it – and it doesn’t matter what it says or links to. Just get it out now, now. We only have two weeks till the event kicks off!”
Fail.

— From Paul Merrill. Get the rest at Shiny Bits of Life

QR codes [stands for Quick Response codes, but you’ll never hear them referred to by the full words] are getting hot with marketers. Merrill’s right; they were everywhere at South by Southwest last week, but I’ve also seen them in print magazines and on ads in the subway in New York.

The idea behind QR codes is solid: You see an ad [or an article, or a product package, whatever] with a QR code, and you whip out your ubiquitous smartphone, scan the code and get delivered to a website where additional, fabulous information awaits you.

It’s the fabulous part we’re struggling with right now.

This is fundamentally a user experience problem. Marketers haven’t yet sorted out what is best delivered via your phone, or your computer or a printed ad. So right now, they’re throwing it all at you, every which way they can. Given some time and excellent examples, this kind of thing will sort itself out. The only potential problem is, if we become inured to poor QR code usage in the meantime, it will take a lot of work to get people to start scanning them again.

So marketers of the world, please be careful with your QR codes. Stop using them when you can’t be fabulous.

One Response to QR Codes: Ready for Prime Time?

  1. paulmerrill March 30, 2011 at 10:09 pm #

    Thanks for the post, Laura! Glad you found it useful.

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