QR codes have failed to deliver a rich and engaging user experience. Or, put in less delicate terms, “A lot of the experiences have been crap,” according to Patrick Aluise of Blippar. Harsh words from someone who makes his living with this imaging recognition technology. Having used them, I can’t disagree.
The problem as I see it with QR codes and other forms of two-dimensional bar codes is the payoff does not give enough value in exchange for the process required. The scanning software is not native to the device, and in the time it takes to open by QR scanning app, I could just as easily have typed in at URL and been on my merry way. And if the end experience is no different than visiting via URL, what is the point of the extra work?
Panelists at the recent Mobile Insider Summit agreed that QR codes have more often than not failed to deliver a good user experience, according to this Mediapost article, “Are QR Codes Already History?”
Some remained optimist, even in light of Microsoft’s decision to end its Tag tech, its souped-up alternative to QR codes, in two years.
And some publishers are seeing decent engagement with similar technology that allows users to scan a photo and dive deeper into their editorial content. Perhaps that is catching on because, to the reader, a photo looks a whole lot less like an ad than a QR code does.
In the meantime, consumers will continue to lead the debate; if they go on ignoring the ubiquitous QR code, ladies and gentlemen, we have our answer.