Does QR = Quick Response or Quite Ridiculous?

I first posted about the potential for QR Codes to be used by fundraisers back in early 2008 and, while it’s been some time coming, it’s been interesting to see how their use has started to take-off over the last year or so.

However, as explained by Scott Stratten in the fun video clip above, right now QR Codes seem to be coming-out like a rash in a range of places where they make very little if any sense.

I’ve now got used to seeing QR Codes at the end of some emails, linking back to the sender’s website. Clearly offering no advantage at all over a standard clickable link and presumably stuck there in the vain hope that I’ll scan their email on my computer screen with my Smartphone, or scan my Smartphone with a notional ‘other’ Smartphone when I’m reading my email while on the go. That just makes me smile at how daft some people can be.

However, what prompted me to mention this whole subject here is that a week or so ago I saw QR Codes under each of the prompt values on the proposed screen designs for the donation pages of a new charity website. When the client questioned this with their agency, the designer apparently wasn’t sure where these might link to but thought it might be good to offer the option. Good to offer a diversion away from perhaps the most important point in the transaction journey to an unspecified location viewed on another device by scanning the computer screen? No wonder almost half of all potential donors give-up without completing transactions if that’s the sort of thinking going into donation page design these days.

For more such examples of where QR actually stands for ‘Quite Ridiculous’ take a look at this list from eConsultancy (Top ridiculous points go to Bromley Town Football Club for shaving unreadable QR codes onto players’ heads).

The moral of the story – while everyone knows that mobile is becoming increasingly important in our new digital world, there is still a very important place for good old-fashioned common sense when it comes to how you should try to capitalise on the new opportunities on offer.

Also, never be afraid to ask your agency why they are recommending something that seems wrong to you. You never know, it might well be that what they are recommending is simply wrong – and by asking the question you can save yourselves both some embarrassment.


3 thoughts on “Does QR = Quick Response or Quite Ridiculous?

  1. So damn true! QR codes are just another additional ‘thing’ to alienate potential donors and get them to do other things other than donate

    Keep it simple!

  2. We introduced personalised QR codes on our earphone protectors/winders which can link to an individual’s online giving page. The code can be kept prominent while their earphones are in (e.g. training for a run). We included this in response to customer demand.

    I guess it’s a case of looking for opportunities where the donor can cut out a step when making the contribution.

    1. Interesting to hear that you added QR codes to the winder in response to fundraising-related customer requests – because to be honest I can’t see how anyone could easily scan the code when the user is out training for a run. However, I guess if friends notice it when the user is not moving about then it could spark conversation and so help generate some extra donations.

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