QR codes—are you using or misusing them?

QR codes, those little squares that look like cryptic postage stamps, can contain a lot of information. Many modern smartphones can read the codes to discover large amounts of information hidden inside.

Just because QR codes are new and exciting, though, you shouldn’t forget to give some thought to where and how to use them. As Mark W. Schaefer points out in his blog post QR Codes Have the Beer Can Problem, sometimes the use of QR codes can be a major obstacle in the way to finding information instead of making it easier.


For example, if you’re providing your contact details (see image) in the form of a QR code, wouldn’t it be more reasonable to just spell them out? If I don’t have a QR-enabled smartphone, it will remain an eternal mystery to me how I can contact you. And what’s the point of QR-ing your contact info on a Twitter background like the user did who put up this image?

QR codes are, of course, ideal if you want to give people a link to, say, a website that contains useful content that relates to the situation where they see your code. In many cases, though, you should “code” your message using the 26 universally recognized coding characters: the letters A to Z.

What kind of good and bad uses of QR codes have you seen? Please share.

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