A writer with Ragan Communications contacted me recently for my response to an article suggesting that QR codes were “dead.” He was writing an article in response to this claim and seeking input from those with opinions to share. My response:

No, I don’t think the QR code is dead (although I’m somewhat biased because I was an early adopter and very much enthralled with the concept when it first emerged). Still, while other tools may be added to the toolbox, my opinion is that all may still have a place. In the near future, I believe there is still a place for QR codes.

That said, technology of course continues to evolve. In some ways the use of codes like the QR code and some of the new alternatives – like AR News, Blippar, Touchcode, etc., remind me of other “format wars”. In some cases, one format has virtually replaced another (e.g. QWERTY vs. DVORAK). In other cases, both formats continue to co-exist (e.g. AM and FM radio stations).

Ultimately, from a communication standpoint, what is most important is not the technology but the intent behind the use of the technology (whatever it is), which is why I think QR codes have gotten a bad rap.

Yes, they have been frequently used ineffectively and unnecessarily simply for the sake of “doing something new and cool.” But, all of the new QR code alternatives will similarly fail if their applications are not well aligned with clear objectives and target audiences. They will fail if they are not designed to drive some meaningful interaction or outcome that can best be delivered through that technology, rather than in some other (even “old-fashioned”) way.

Recommended Reading:

The Everything Guide to Customer Engagement

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