Wednesday, May 4, 2011

QR Codes Online?! Really?!! Really?!!!

I was recently logging into my AOL email account, yes I still have an AOL account and I use it only as my spam email account, when I noticed something truly disturbing--a QR code. Now I <3 QR codes; I'm constantly scanning them and I find them exciting, mysterious and an innovative use of technology. But unfortunately, once I scan a QR code, the experience/payoff is, for the most part, poorly executed and greatly disappointing and lackluster.

In the above use case, the presence of a QR code on a webpage was baffling. Why on God's great earth would I be sitting in front of my 17" monitor (laptop or desktop) and chose to pick up my cellphone, scan the QR code and switch to my 2"x 4" smart phone screen to look at a webpage? The answer is I wouldn't; not even if the experience was mobile optimized.

The only reason using a QR code online is if what the user is accessing/getting can only be used on a mobile phone (e.g. a ringtone, an App, a phone number, etc.) Putting a QR code on a webpage, that when scanned leads to another webpage, as in the above example, is the equivalent to forcing a user to type in a lengthy URL in the address bar because a hyperlink isn't working. It's painful and suboptimal.

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