I’ve never used a QR code in my life and can’t imagine why I would.

“Daring Fireball”:http://daringfireball.net/linked/2011/10/21/qr-codes points to a “pretty thorough takedown of QR codes”:http://www.imediaconnection.com/article_full.aspx?id=30267 as used in print ads. The original design goal — Toyota invented these to track parts — makes sense, but jamming these into consumer media is just strange.

* Users can already type in your URL or a sentence, or speak into Siri, or do an image search with their phone. Is taking a snap of this code thing really so much better?
* There’s a history of companies trying to stuff proprietary ID systems in between users and product/service providers. These visual codes are one such thing. AOL Keywords, RealNames are text-based equivalents. They all try to get advertisers to stuff these in ads, but I don’t see how this really serves users or advertisers, it mostly just serves the companies with the proprietary ID system.
* Ultimately, if your product/ad/message is so forgettable that you think jamming a QR code or text string in will help, well, there is a deeper problem.

5 thoughts to “I’ve never used a QR code in my life and can’t imagine why I would.”

  1. Someone asked me in disbelief, “What, you’ve never scanned a QR code?? You must mean you’ve never created one!”

    Well, no, I have never scanned a QR code. I see them at restaurants and stores — why would I scan, I am at the business? I see them on politician’s signs — they all have websites that are trivial to find, not that a politician sign would ever drive me to their website. I see them in magazine ads, but there is always a URL there and it is easier to type in a URL than fiddle around and capture the QR image. Maybe if I had no fingers I’d prefer the image capture route.

    I have created a QR code — once, for this post. Pretty easy. Creating them is clearly no impediment to their adoption.

  2. Hey John,

    Can’t let the reference to RealNames pass… 🙂

    Of course we were the memorable name. Its the URL that is the QR Code of its time 🙂

    Google search success shows us that consumers need to type in names, words, phrases, brands. Almost anything rather than a URL….

    Still a believer



  3. I’m so glad you wrote this. I couldn’t agree more. If I’ve got time to deal with taking a picture of the stupid QR code, I could just read the thing it was on.

  4. Keith, good to hear from you. Agree URLs are ugly but a) somewhat openly/fairly managed and b) required so not worth fighting.

    Consumers do want to just express themselves in very natural language/forms and get answers. We’d probably both agree that stuffing consumer intention into a QR code matching process is no step forward.

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