Truths and Fallacies of Using QR Codes

MMM Business Card Design v2 - Share on OviGigaOm: 5 reasons you’re probably wasting time with QR codes

I think that this article is one part true, but another part has some fallacies that can be exposed by understanding communications, mobile, and context. Therefore, my comment:

I almost can agree with this… then again, I’ve got a business that’s able to use QR codes effectively either as a teaching moment or a removing-friction-in-communication moment 😉

Concerning point #1: QR code readers have been available for nearly any mobile that can run a Java application since roughly 2005 – including mobiles sold in the US before carriers got a bit heavy with application loading on mobiles. If you or anyone constrains the thinking of QR Codes to smartphones only, then you don’t know mobile and need to go back to the basics there.

Concerning your point about cross-media functionality, QR Codes are like any other passive-active channel, it needs to be used in places that make sense for the media. Referencing my example cited above, my QR-encoded business card points to a downloadable vCard of my contact information. Context, people see a business card and remember the communication, they want an easier way to reach me, they don’t want to type it, and are usually not familiar with OCR nor own business card scanning devices. Rather than a code that points to the web (print to web cross-media), its a code that points to their mobile (print to mobile cross-media). This isn’t just effective, but renders the business card as a environmental conversation worth having, again bringing other media streams into the conversation. Simply putting a QR code on your website that points to the website, or on a TV program that points to an unoptimized website isn’t smart – in fact, people doing that and having an opinion similar to that of the article writer might again want to go back to communication basics.

I don;t debate that QR Codes have their problems. And clearly, the use cases don’t lend themselves to the push-overpower-broadcast nature of many who want to implement them. Refining that will take imagination, purpose, and a bending of the technology that’s not shackled to the ways you’ve used other media. Its interactive, therefore you need to start from there and adjust as the personalization aspects come into play.

Really, its not that hard. Folks just kind of have to stop thinking tethered to what they used to do and actually go out and explore new behaviors and methods.