Okay so this morning while in the library doing some printing and technically on holiday I was approached by a student helpery type doing a survey about designs of various signs featuring QR codes, at which I automatically rolled my eyes – and heres why.
Its not like I don’t like technology, and its not like I don’t like QR codes, I think they’re a pretty neat trick, but I generally find that when designers and QR codes interact you end up alienating a large chunk of your audience and looking like an eedjit because of some pretty basic flaws in the way they get used i.e. mostly when someone is designing a sign/poster/whatever with a QR code on it they take away all the actual information and just leave a tantalising headline and a QR code, which was the case (again) in the examples I was shown. When you do this you look like an eedjit for the following reasons:
- Anyone who cannot or chooses not to invest their resources in a device capable of using them thinks you’re an eedjit and an elitist for excluding them
- Anyone who doesn’t have a device capable of using them on them right there and then, charged up, with signal – thinks you’re an eedjit because you’ve given them no information, but specifically hinted there is some you won’t give them
- Anyone who has a device that is internet capable but doesn’t do QR codes thinks you’re an eedjit because you didn’t write the URL down anywhere they can get to it
- If all you’ve got is a QR code even without a title, context or any reason to assert you’re someone vaguely trustable then anyone with a device that understands them thinks your an eedjit because you may be trying to direct them to a URL hosting malicious information that will attempt to hijack or infect their device
- I have no idea of the accessibility implications of QR codes, but I’m going to guess that they require you to be able to see them and hold a device upright and steady long enough to scan them – suggesting you probably aren’t winning many prizes from some people who could otherwise instruct their devices to go to a URL.
So basically if you’re going to use QR codes at least try and include them in addition to actually useful information.