Roman’s Rants: The QR Code Fairy Tale
19th January 4 Comments
These days you see them absolutely everywhere: on billboards, in magazines and newspapers, the little black-and-white QR codes that are meant to connect the offline and online worlds oh so wonderfully. But in most cases, they are fucking useless and downright annoying.
So here is how this should work: If you come across such a harbinger of modern mobility, you grab your smartphone, fire up one of the numerous Apps that are meant to decipher this code, hold your camera in the direction of the code like you were actually taking a picture, wait for the autofocus of your mobile camera to get a clear image and if all works well you are being redirected to some website. This is full of shit for two reasons.
First of all, using this technology is a sore pain in the arse. Those of you who have already tried this will agree that it is awkward to be taking snapshots like this. The only people I have actually seen doing this are sales representatives at trade shows and congresses, sporting their new technology. In real life, nobody uses these damn things. Have you ever seen somebody stand in front of a billboard that is, say, advertising a new movie, and take a picture of this code to somehow get some extra information? No, because it is a bullshit user experience.
Secondly, even if somebody ventures into the world of QR code photography, what he is usually referred to is a website that is not meant to be viewed on mobile phones. My friend Marco has written a piece about this when trying out jeweler Christ’s mobile offer. It is one thing to plaster one’s advertising material with QR code, it is another thing to have a campaign behind it that is thought through and reflects the mobile context the user is in when he uses the QR code. So, either you give us a good reason for undergoing all this QR hassle or leave us alone with this crap, for crying out loud!
Rather than being the next big thing, QR codes are nothing more than a bridge technology such as the German BTX or the French Minitel in the eighties – before the Internet as we know it today arrived. They are just a means to an end and one of the few peculiarities our children and grandchildren will wonder about: „Grandpa, you must be joking – people took pictures of paper billboards – WTF?““
Far more promising in this context is the NFC technology we keep writing about – have a look at those articles and you know what I’m talking about.