Saturday, April 7, 2012

What does that QR code link to, anyway?

Facebook comments by Cynthia Parkhill in response to user's question, "What's a QR code?" CYNTHIA PARKHILL: "They're little mosaic-looking squares printed on paper. When you point a smart phone at them, they launch the smart phone's web browser to a designated web location. Only without any sort of context to explain their presence they might as well just be little decorative squares." CYNTHIA PARKHILL: "I only learned about them, myself, a short while ago." CYNTHIA PARKHILL: "I have to think about viewer familiarity and explanatory context because my next planned yarnbombing installation is going to include QR tags."
Philosophical musings on Facebook in response to the question, “What’s a QR code?”
My walks about town reveal the same QR code (or another, identical, one) that I wrote about a few weeks ago, still posted at a local grocery store with no explanatory context.

What is that little square mosaic and why is it posted on the door and at checkout stands?

The best designs with QR codes include a hint about what it links to, i.e.“Download our specials for the week.” They also include explanatory instructions, i.e. “Scan with your smart phone.”

The design will, ideally, display the URL that the code is supposed to link to. It’s a matter of courtesy to viewers who don’t have a code-reading device.

I recently saw a newspaper ad that I thought set a new standard in QR code accessibility.

The purpose of scanning the code was made clear with explanatory text. Not only did the display ad also make clear that the code should be scanned with a smart phone, but it also included text-messaging address to download a free QR code reader. No ambiguity there!

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