Should you use QR codes on your website?

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There is a debate running within the Web team at St Andrews just now about the value of using QR codes on web pages.

Our feeling here is that QR codes are most useful on print publications and where used on websites for contact information, for example, they should be an unobtrusive option (accompanied by a tasteful 16 x 16 QR icon QR code icon perhaps) rather than splashed across the page.

Our feeling is also that there are better ways to enable people to import contact details into their address book software, such as microformats.

What are your thoughts? Please use the comments below and answer the poll. Thanks!

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About Gareth J M Saunders

Hi, I'm Gareth J M Saunders, 6' 4", married to Jane, father of 3 boys (twins and singleton), I'm a priest in the Scottish Episcopal Church, employed as the Web Architect at the University of St Andrews. My main interests are HTML, CSS (inc. frameworks), jQuery, Information Architecture and Agile development.
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7 Responses to Should you use QR codes on your website?

  1. We were having a look at microformat support in browsers recently, but there seems to be little or nothing built in.

    The Operator add-in for Firefox seems to work quite well (we tested it against hCalendar, which we already had in some of our automated outputs) and successfully added events from our website to Outlook and iCal.

    With the news that Facebook has apparently marked up all its events with hCalendar and applied hCard to contacts, this could be something that takes off.

    Possibly you could use microformats, RDFa and HTML5 microdata all at once. As well as provide related feeds (EventsML for events anyone?). Good for search, user interaction and semantic web, perhaps.

    In the case of QR codes, perhaps you could hide them in your screen CSS, and display them in print?

  2. Hi Tavis—I like the idea of displaying them only in a print.css.

    I’d thought of including subtle links whereby the QR codes only appear when you click on them, lightbox-style perhaps.

    It is disappointing that more browsers don’t support Microformats out of the box, I’m using Microformats for Google Chrome which is great.

    Andy Clarke in his latest book Hardboiled Web Design certainly recommends using Microformats in conjunction with various HTML5 attributes.

  3. There was an article on Gizmodo recently saying that Google was to axe support for QR Codes in their Places service. http://feeds.gawker.com/~r/gizmodo/full/~3/5If2UHPwemw/qr-codes-goodbye-and-good-riddance

    We have never used and are unlikely to. May use Augmented Reality though as it fits in with our courses better.

  4. I got an email from someone who said “We went with microformats which can be optionally turned on by the web publisher when creating a single contact box, or a table.”

  5. QR Codes make sense when you want to get the URL of the page onto a mobile device. Examples of where I use them:
    http://programme.ecs.soton.ac.uk/2011/08/vfringe/view.php?subject=music — event info
    http://data.southampton.ac.uk/bus-stop/SN120085.html — live bus stop info

    In both cases these are resources people may find on the web at their desk, but want to bookmark on a mobile device for use on the hoof.

  6. Garfield P says:

    Yes, this is where I find QR codes useful, creating a personal reference file on my PDA

  7. Bradley says:

    I think you should definitely use QR Codes on your website. And the easiest way to add QR Code to thew website is http://www.pageqrcode.com service. Just copy and paste HTML code.

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