Since our last post about QR (Quick Response) codes a few weeks ago we thought it would be a good idea to re-visit this topic after reading an article on why they are failing, from Why the QR code is failing.

Essentially the QR code is a way for people to use their smart phones to get to a web page a lot quicker. But what the article points out is that the majority of people don’t actually know what QR codes are. Or if they have guessed they are a bar code of some sort they don’t actually know how to “read” them.

The QR code so far has mainly been used by advertising agencies as a way of sign-posting people to a web page (whether that be a website, Facebook fan page or You Tube) without people having to actually type the address into their web browser. It also means that advertisers can directly ensure people get to the page they want them to read rather than being diverted by other Google searches or other content found on a page.

What the post suggests though is that actually having large squares of fuzzy black and white dots plastered onto buses and billboards isn’t actually terribly useful once it’s taken the user time to get their phone out, find the QR reader app, take a photo of the app and then link to the web page.

It’s all very clever technology but in principle where the QR code has been used so far it hasn’t actually been very practical.

But why is an educational book design studio writing about QR codes at all? And why are we now suggesting they are useless?

Well, we’re not and what we wanted to do by writing this post is to highlight that QR codes (or at the least the technology behind them) is still of use within a printed page context, allowing one product, the printed book, to be a portal into a multitude of mediums – web pages, film clips, sound bytes etc.

Whilst the QR code itself might not be the most attractive image to have on a page there are lots of benefits to having them embedded within a book, particularly within an educational context. So let’s take a look at another piece of technology that uses the same principles as the QR code.

Clic2C is an invisible QR code which prints out code within the pixels of an image. In the same way that the QR reader digests this information and takes the reader to a web page, the Clic2C technology does the same. The advantages being that it looks a lot better on the page (the code is hidden in the pixels of the image) and there is no difference in quality to the original image. It literally makes pictures and images interactive.

This principle can be applied to images, logos, headings, anything that can be printed. And with the small inclusion of the Clic2C logo it makes it very easy to identify which still images are going to take you to something live within the web space!

Admittedly there will still be the need to use a reader, which can be downloaded as an app on a smart phone. But the uses within a classroom context for a teacher and students could be huge. Having said that I don’t know if I would want to be a teacher trying to control a class full of kids being “allowed” to use their phones during a lesson – maybe just stick to using them in the teachers copy of the book!