QR Codes: bus-shelters, drink cans, awards ceremonies – fancy a bit of fun?

This post is something different – a little bit of social networking experimentation. Just say you were at an awards ceremony equipped with your smart phone but you don’t, for whatever reason, have a list of the nominees, and you wanted to be able to share the results as they were announced to those who are not there. Would you like something on your phone to do this? Do you dare have your phone on during the ceremony? Of course you do. Just put it on silent and turn down the screen brightness.

A quik segue about QR codes first; they’re those square barcode-like images that you’ve seen perhaps without knowing what they are. They’re on websites, of course, but also on bus-stop billboards, the sides of drink cans, in programmes – to name a few. The potential for arts organisations’ marketing – special deals for your followers, up to date and additional useful information – is huge. You could put an entire program and extra notes, for example, in a QR image or put one on your show’s posters and flyers. Just imagine! The paper saving is enough reason to give it a try. The implications for design layout are intriguing as well.

What you need to translate the black and white squiggles into meaningful matter is an app called a QR (Quick Response) Reader installed on your phone – there are lots free for downloading. Now you can scan QR Codes wherever you find them: using our example from a website which would lead you to where there was a list of the nominees for the awards ceremony. In a few seconds you will have the page or post containing the information right there on your phone.

Like this one …



So, if you want to play, the first thing to do is to get the QR reader installed on your phone. Go to the iTunes store where you will find a slew of them – free and paid. Download the one you want and install it on your smart phone. I’m using QR Reader for the iPhone. As with lots of free apps you have to put up with a reasonably non-intrusive ad at the top of the screen. Paid QR readers are ad-free.

Open the QR Reader app on your phone, scan the QR code in this post, and admire the result.

PS This QR image (above) leads to all the nominees for tonight’s Matilda Awards.  Now you can follow along if you miss out on a programme – or just show how truly geeky – aka ahead of the pack – you really are.

If you want to know how to embed and use QR codes for your own use, check out the 2amt blog post from August last year: What’s a Theatre To Do? and get some ideas. I believe there’s a follow-up post to this coming soon.

If you’re ready to have a go at embedding QR codes on your own materials, then you can’t do any simpler than Kaywa, which generates the code you need to embed in your blog or site. I did this to generate the code above. I  typed in the URL of the nominees’ page on the Matilda’s site, hit the ‘generate QR code’ button, and pasted it in this post.