QR codes: from Hollywood to Shrinky Dinks, they’re here to stay

From CNet.com:

qr codeSitting down for an interview with Tower Heist actor Alan Alda, I was a little surprised to see he was wearing something that’s becoming a familiar sight here in New York — a QR code bangle. When I scanned it on my iPhone app or Android app, it took me to his site and instantly gave me information about his new project, a play he’s written about Madame Curie called Radiance, and all the details on the show’s run in LA. In a flash, I had all I needed to know about his new production. When even the likes of Alda are embracing this technology, it seems that, amid all the talk of the future of QR codes, the tool really does have its place as a potential marketing platform.

There is indeed, as even non Oscar-nominated actors know, a way to use the technology to get the most out of it. Jonathan Thaler, who runs We Are Mobile, a company that creates QR-enabled mobile websites, believes that QR codes are valuable and increasing in popularity. He believes though that this value is being undermined by ineffective and improper use of the technology.

“If corporate and other casual campaigns continue to use the technology without taking the entire process into account,” he says, “then I think this does have a huge risk of becoming a passing fad.”

Thaler explains that around 1 in 20 scans will bring the user to something worth scanning, but the same can’t be said for the rest. The problem with many QR codes is that they are unreadable in some QR Code readers for various reasons.

“The QR codes used are either too small, too blurry, there’s not enough colour contrast or there is too much artwork integrated into the code,” says Thaler. The other side of the problem is when the QR codes connect to unusable and bad-user-experience computer sites.

Thaler is adamant that if this technology is going to have the positive impact its intended to have, then these practices need to change. “If this tech is going to last and have a positive impact, these bad practices need to stop,” he says. This supports the school of thought that believes QR codes are tools that will only work with a solid strategy behind them.

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