Using QR codes

Today's Slaw post: QR codes can be useful tools for marketing (including for lawyers) and other uses - but they are a tool that must be used correctly, not a strategy on their own. At a TechAlliance session this morning on QR codes Donnie Claudino of TechAlliance and Jonathan Kochis of Resolution Interactive Media talked about how to use them.

To put them in context, consider that some extimate that half of all web traffic will be mobile by 2015.

A lot of the bad press QR codes have received are based on poor uses. Examples of QR code fails can be seen here and here. A prime example of a poor use would be this code:

First, it is in a blog post, so a link should be used, not a QR code. It doesn't make any sense to have to pull out a phone and take an image of a QR code on a web page. And second, it takes you back to the Slaw homepage, which is pointless when you are already on Slaw reading this, so it adds no value.

Keep in mind that QR codes are useable for more than just advertising. Indeed, they were originally developed by Toyota to track vehicles during the manufacturing process. A manufacturer might, for example, place them on its product to point users to a site for replacement parts or accessories or operating manuals.

Some tips:

Make the experience valuable - think of what the QR code provides the user.

Make it easy to scan (eg not on a roadside billboard).

It must go to a mobile friendly place (eg a mobile friendly web page, and no flash).

Don't use in places without wifi or 3G (eg an in-flight magazine, or a subway).

Give users a clue about what the QR code does to encourage its use.

Test it on different devices before it is published.