QR codes – Really, is it necessary?

There are already a few discussion about QR codes use in the museums sector  for quite some time now (Museum 2.0 by Nina Simon, Scott Billing @museumnext blog,Shelley Bernstein @BrooklynMuseum and many more).

So I am quite familiar about it, but I have consciously decided that it is not the right move for our museum in this present times, I feel that there are other things that we could do to improve and concentrate our efforts on.

But I had a visitor to our museum the other day who strongly suggested that we use them. The person said that we have to use it because it is so easy and simple to do (not that I don’t know this). And because we never let a visitor comment go with out a thorough consideration, I thought I put it on this blog my considerations based on what I know and what I have read so far about them.

QR code is underwhelming and it has a novelty feeling about it

Seb Chan @freshandnew, had a very good description on the problems and opportunities of QR codes. I think what he said about the uptake outside japan has been slow, specially due to the rubbish use of it for marketing campaigns, was spot on.

I saw a QR code on a side of a BUS which as big as a baby elephant’s head. and I thought “Really? is that really necessary?” and when it comes down to it, it only linked to the bus companies website. Why not just put the address on? but then again why not just put your company name clearly so people can Google it? Would people really have time when the bus is moving so fast to take out their phone and try to aim it at the massive QR code? Anyway I digress.

Better use and understanding of its potential

  • It needs to be used more creatively – not just to make an advertising of a price drop where the £ signs looks like it drops from the top of the paper – again – what added benefit is that?
  • think about the added benefit you could provide – but then again would that not constitute as exclusivity that we in museums want to get a way from (because not everyone will have a device to read = only a few could access)

There are many more argument, such as the content needed to be thought of and actually created, which we do not have time to do etc, etc… However , what made it obvious to me that our museum is not ready yet: that it needs to link to a mobile friendly website, and our website doesn’t even show correctly on Firefox.

So in conclusion – I will continue with the development of the website and when that is ready I will have another think about this.

Have you tried QR? How did you find it? What did your audience think of it? Has it increased their experience?






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