These square images are being used more recently in the last few years as a tool for interacting between two different media. In a study conducted recently the most interacted placements of QR codes were on magazines, packaging, websites and posters.
So I get it, you can go from viewing an advert for a game or DVD on a poster to hovering over the ‘buy it now’ button on your mobile in seconds just by taking a picture of a barcode; I see the benefits, but this is just interim technology stuff.
In an ideal world, if you simply looked at the poster with your mobile phone you could be downloading the demo of the game, browsing the movie trailer, or making a purchase instantly. This is, sort of what you can do now, but what makes this an interim measure is the fact that people have to go out and download software to scan these codes. This really limits the audience, and until software is built into the operating systems, it will always be a niche thing.
Regardless of this, QR codes look too technical anyway. Even if they turned into designed objects like these barcodes from Japan they aren’t sexy; and who wants to see black and white barcodes over everything? How about if you didn’t need a barcode? What if you could just look at the advert through your phone?
Removing the need for barcodes completely
Recently I stumbled across Aurasma that does this, in a sort of clunky prototype way, but the technology is promising. Again, the downside at the moment is that you need to download the app, but if this was built into camera software, and the practice became widespread (so that people almost expected to get something if they looked at it with their phone), no longer would you just look at a printed advert, or watch a 30 second TV clip, you could further immerse yourself into the advertised item, but only if you were interested. This is the key. These things are only popular because people want to find out more.
The end result of this becoming mainstream is a deeper connection between what you are consuming in the real-world and the digital realm. This happens at both a social and software level. In an age when we go on to IMDB whilst watching a film to find out what else that guy has been in, to reading real-time comments on twitter when watching X-Factor we can link this together to make things we are interested in easier for us to consume, creating a much more fulfilling scenario.
I’d be really interested to find out what your thoughts are on this technology, and how you might think we could interact these things in a better way, if we need to at all.