Look, I know this sort of “feels” like cool new technology and you want to believe that it might have applications for everything from your conference program and website to your 3rd grade classroom. But stop. Please. You’re trying to turn a barcode into a revolution and it’s just really confusing. It’s not just that normal folks not into the tech scene like you or I don’t get QR codes (they really don’t, nor do they need to), it’s that by taking this thing you’ve found and trying to mold it into some applicable use for your classroom you’re putting the cart before the horse and forgetting what you’re trying to accomplish.
Someone asked me the other day if it made sense to put a QR code on a rotating PowerPoint presentation that plays before a lecture. To their credit they didn’t really even know why they were asking the question, only that they thought they should (see a problem here?). Let’s look at the actual scenario of what will happen in this case:
- QR Code appears on PowerPoint slide. We can assume it probably links to a website.
- The slide probably has some information about what the user should do. “Scan this with your iPhone or Android to ‘Like’ us on Facebook”.
- The user pulls out their phone. If their quick they manage to open the camera application and snap a photo.
- “Did it work for you Ethel? I don’t think I did this right. Oh I need an app? I can download one.”
- Open App Store
- Search QR Codes
- Click to download 1st app listed on search
- Enter Apple account password
- Wait for download…
- Open app
- Tap “scan”
- Look up and realize the slide is not on the screen
- Slide appears again. Scan
- Browser appears and opens up www.whatever.com
People, this is madness. Can we please stop assuming this makes any sense for anyone? Search has come a long way and it’s built into both browsers and many sites. If I need to find you on Facebook all I need is your name, not a link. If I need to find your website it’s probably quicker to search for it than type it in, but both are still quicker than what we just accomplished above. Let’s stop pretending QR Codes are worth the time and effort and move on to something that has real value. As a bonus I now have a new favorite Tumblr blog.
Update: I take it back, I have a new favorite Tumblr.