A Lesson in Context, Thanks to QR Codes

Once there was a code on a movie ad. It was lonely. Not accompanied by any sort of identifiable information. No instructions. No call-to-action. No expectation-setting. Not to mention, eye-level with a bug. Just the code. A hidden, lonely code. (Can you find it?)

QR Code on Movie Poster

Then, there was another code on a movie ad. This one not hidden at all. Right in front of your face (waist, really), saying, “hey look at me, guess what you can do here!” This code was not lonely. It was surrounded by all sorts of friendly information. Instructions. Call-to-action. Expectations of special offers. All, with its different colors and fancy style.

MS Tag on Movie Poster

These two codes teach us an important and elementary lesson in context.

Codes like this are intended for interaction. If interaction is your game, you must be clear and prominent to have any chance of meeting the intention. It’s this intention that must be present in the context of whatever you’re trying to drive interaction around. In this case, a code. But what about touch screens? Or check-ins? Or short codes?

There are interactive whoosits and whatsits popping up all around us Рon the places and things that we encounter every day. Soon, even all those physical screens outside of our homes and offices will be interactive, too. To have any chance at driving interaction, proper context must have a presence. Without it, assumptions are made. And assumptions, as far as emerging technology goes, will lead the way of the lonely code.

 

One thought on “A Lesson in Context, Thanks to QR Codes

  1. Menno Bieringa

    Just like you are surprised by all the QR codes popping up all over the place I was too. That is why I’ve actually used them while conducting a context test of my own on 30.000 visitors of a soccer event.

    The goal was to see the importance of context when presenting people with a QR code while the second goal was to promote a new application of mine.

    Although interesting, the results were depressing in the sense of the amount of traffic I got from the QR code.

    Details and pictures of my research are on my blog http://www.mennobieringa.nl/research/researched-the-importance-of-qr-codes-and-their-context/

    I hope this extra info serves someone.
    Cheers!

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