Archive for June 1st, 2011

Interesting codes appearing

I think I saw my first one – properly, in use – just over 12 months ago, used to collect attendee information at an external event. If I’d seen them before they’d barely registered and I definitely didn’t realise the significance or potential of them.

Fast forward 12 months and they’re springing up all over. On holiday in Nice they were on Lignes d’azur bus stops for timetables and ‘next bus’ information, and at historic points of interest such as the Opera House. Here they are on posters and adverts, even T-shirts, as well as on websites and promotional material, allowing you to add to your address book, access discounts, link to webpages, or find out more.

Little squares of black and white. QR - Quick Response – Codes have been around for some time but only seem to be really becoming mainstream now. They’re simple to generate (and free) and pretty much any smartphone can either access them natively or with the use of a simple (and usually free) app.

QR Code for 'About' on this blog

QR Code for 'About' on this blog

The examples I’ve seen are usually links to online information, either static or real-time updated, or contain short pieces of information. The Wikipedia page linked to above identifies some other interesting and creative uses for them.

The beauty of them, I think, is the simplicity of creation and that they can be read from a computer display or printed matter equally well, making them ideal for simultaneous use online and in hard copy.

How we might use them could be interesting. An obvious candidate is supporting the wayfinding work currently underway. With such a large organisation spread over such a range of spaces, and with so many ‘new faces’ each year, anything that helps people find their way around better sounds worthwhile. Other obvious uses include supporting events and conferences hosted on site. They may also be useful in enhancing existing signage and information, linking to self help materials or contact information, or opening hours. What other more imaginative uses could we put them to?

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