The QR code is a new and exciting technology that has sprung up over the last few years. It gives a person the chance to scan a specialized bar code via their smart phone and be directed to a website. QR codes seem to be a great idea and have much potential for their use. Already many companies and organizations utilize these codes in their advertising and in stores. But just how effective is the QR code? And what exactly does it direct one to on the web?
A new Tumblr account has asked this question and blown the idea of the usefulness of QR codes out of the water. The blog shows examples of QR codes that are not the most practical or that do not lead to the most informative or stimulating websites. Check it out:
The blog features QR codes on such impractical surfaces such as straws, tombstones, t-shirts, and wind-blown signs, making the ability to scan the code nearly impossible. It also looks at QR codes that lead to essentially nothing on the internet. One example is a QR code on a restaurant menu which leads to a Google map location of the restaurant. Essentially useless.
This blog certainly brings into question the usefulness of the QR code. But QR codes can also be useful and fun. They do not always have to be used for advertising or for companies. For this case, I believe an example from Wil Wheaton is necessary:
This QR code utilizes a picture within it while still functioning as a working QR code. This shows that the codes really can be used for more than just poor product placement, but for the everyday person.
About a year ago I worked on a project with the Lyon Arboretum to use QR codes on a tour around their gardens. Here is an article that features them:
In this case the QR codes, when scanned, link to a website that gives detailed information about a certain plant. In this case QR codes are certainly utilized in a positive and practical way.
So, all in all, I would say that QR codes are a great new technology that has loads of potential if used and displayed correctly. Unfortunately as the technology moves on not every company may really understand the potential use of the QR code, but I suppose that is what makes for great internet humor.