v5.5 – vCard, QR, AR on Deck

It has been a good while since publicly talking about the Digital Business Card Experiments, but I’ve been at work with several aspects of it. The other day, I decided to pick up things (I was resting, it came out) and finally get the digital business card back on track. To do so, I wanted to integrate as many pieces of tech I could that would literally put one’s mobile into the position of a magic wand, but also play off the ability for the mobile to become a canvas of sorts.

Quick Recap

The Digital Business Card Experiment is basically an effort to digitize a business card and then change the behavior of exchanging information – specifically where the case of digital information can change based on contexts.

Back in February 2011, I was at version 2.0 of my website, which used a combination of HTML and QR codes to make a living (dynamic) contact card. Sure, others could host it, but the power in this approach was that I controlled not only the design, but how folks connected to the info.

This latest iteration, now at v5.5, throws out some rules and adds some enhancements.

Starting with An Image

This new iteration of things starts with an image. It took a while to come to this point, but basically, I’m using the images that have literally become my associated brand materials. There’s my personal brand and MMM. I then used a QR code which is an encoded vCard (crappy mobile cameras will have problems with this) for another image. Lastly, because this is something that I’d like to provoke an AR (augmented reality) behavior of scanning for more, there’s the Layar logo.

Layar Creator – the AR layer

As part of the many experiments that I do as a part of Mobile Ministry Magazine, I’ve taken that compiled image and then uploaded it to Layar’s Layar Creator service to then embed additional information onto the image. Added onto this image are things such as links to my MMM presentations, Twitter accounts, and email. But then there’s the fun stuff, two videos are embedded on this which can be viewed instantly. There is also a link to a playlist of videos in which I appear on YouTube. Kind of neat (for now). All of this information is there, but you only see it when you utilize the Layar app on your Symbian (no longer available), iOS or Android mobile device.

And A Website

This image is then embedded onto my personal website’s landing page (still using Dropbox’s public folder to host this page until that needs to change). Alongside some conventional link buttons to similar content. Basically speaking, I can now use my URL as a single point of contact. Fun part is that there’s the education that I’ll literally have to do with some people in terms of how they will get in contact with me. There’s no obvious “contact me” button. You basically have to be a near/full-digital/mobile/AR native to see this and react… naturally.

I did some late playing around with it and added some CSS media queries to things to make it act like a responsive website. Though I’m not doing things “by the book,” I am making some headway on what will and won’t work in terms of a display for different types of mobile and PC design contexts. Perhaps I’ll add some attention to tablet uses in there as well.

But, its not natural for a website to be a central contact point. Its not natural to use subdomains and “logical” extensions for email, VoIP/IM, etc. in order to be accessible to anyone. But, I’m going there. And well, this is my extension for you to do the same.

Into the Organic World w/This

The design of this image is actually pretty neat. There is so little text that it can be used as a (smaller than normal) business card if it were printed (I’m thinking like Moo Cards). But better, I can use this simple image as a full contact image on things such as my iPad and phone using SkinIt and similar technologies. Basically, the same image gets printed onto another service, but because the information is digitally-imposed on there, nothing has to be changed with it to account for print-friendliness.

If I were that guy who liked needles, this would so become a tattoo on the back of my hand… I don’t care for needles.

Back into the Digital Business Card

So this project is back on deck (publicly). And with a bit of leaning and learning, I’ll be adding a bit more to it. Of course, you’ll need to use your magic wand in a different way to uncover what those new additions are.