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Stop, put that QR code down and step away...

You've probably, by now, heard about QR (quick response) codes- those square shaped digital graphics that, when scanned with an app on your smart phone, whisks you away to view some new and exciting content.

QR codes over the last year have become more ubiquitous and I have always thought that they have got huge potential in a variety of areas and if used correctly can make a huge positive impact to a business' marketing efforts.

The key to the last paragraph is the phrase 'if used correctly' as there seems to be a proliferation of QR codes all over the internet. It has never been easier to generate the graphics for the code with any number of websites offering free services which allow you to 'push' the viewer to any type of content you could wish to.

So, I hear you thinking, what is it that is getting my goat? Well, simply put QR codes are a platform designed to get people in the 'real world' (eg standing at a bus stop or in a museum) to access your digital content. Used in this way they are ideal and can be used in many clever ways.

However, I see more and more QR codes being used online to push digital traffic to content.

Think of it this way, wherever you have put that QR code, whether it be on your website, your blog, a forum signature etc, you are asking that person to take their phone out, open their scanning app up, scan the code and then go to your content on their phone. What is the point of doing that when they were already on their PC and all they had to do was click a link to view the same content on a big monitor rather than some pokey smartphone screen?

Remember the rule to put yourself in the shoes of the person that you are asking to take a certain action and wheher or not it is something that you would appreciate. It just doesnt make sense, nor is it clever, to use a QR code on a platform which makes it counter intuitive to what you are trying to achieve when using a simple link or clickable graphic would be far better and easier for the user.

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