Curiosity Behind QR Codes part II by Debbie Irwin

Posted on November 21, 2011 by

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If you missed part I, check Friday’s “scan”tastic post by Debbie Irwin, as she discusses ‘Where QR Codes Take You”.

SO, why go there (with QR Codes)? Because we’re all on the go, that’s why. If you create a simpler (and separate) version of your site, designed to be mobile friendly, you will be able to share what’s most important with the people you want to reach. Less is more, but in the end, there will be more there there! Made sense to me, so I went ahead and hired Jonathan Thaler of www.whenimmobile.com to create a mobile version of my website. As a voice over artist, I wanted people to be able to hear and see a sampling of my audio demos and videos quickly, easily and without being in front of a computer.

The site also has an About Debbie page, with mobile-friendly links  to my social networks (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn), and on the home page people have the option to:

  • send me an email
  • share my site with others, via email and Twitter
  • click to call me
  • save my business card info

…each with one click! Plus, (and I really LOVE this), they can create an icon on their device that represents my mobile website, so all they have to do is click the icon and they are right there. How’s it going so far?

Really great!  Recently I handed my new business card (which has my QR code on it) to a Casting Director, who had called me in to audition for a commercial, and he said “Wow!  So cool! How does it work?” Within 60 seconds he had downloaded a reader, scanned my code and was at my mobile site. And while I didn’t get booked on that job, anytime he wants to show my work to someone he’s got it with him, on his phone! If you’re thinking about using this technology for your business, here are some design considerations for the QR-mobile interface which Jonathan Thaler shared with me and will be helpful to you:

1. Page size: Make every effort to keep the page size for mobile versions of my websites to 200k or less, which accommodates most of the devices and carrier plans I have tested.

2. Image size: This applies to both visual and file size considerations. You want your images to be small enough in file size, to enable the smaller page sizes. You also need to have a good idea of screen sizes. Most smartphones can accommodate a width of around 300 pixels, but several models will need pictures to be around 175 pixels. You can create conditions in your code to change the size of the image depending on the device, or have multiple versions of the image to accommodate the different devices.

3. The essential content: One trap that website owners and content providers fall into is the idea that the entire website should be on both the main and mobile versions. In many cases this can’t be done and in most cases it shouldn’t be done! The mobile user has different needs for information and content from those of the computer user. He/she is on the go, with not a lot of time to spend waiting for content to download and wading through irrelevant information, whereas the computer user sitting at home or in the cafe probably has more tolerance for this type of content and experience. As you design each page, ask yourself: “Is this content essential and relevant to the mobile user experience?”

4. Navigation considerations: Typing on mobile phones is cumbersome, and typos are a fact of life. Limit the user’s need to type into data fields on a mobile webpage. If you are collecting bio info, a form requiring that information is a bad idea. A better solution: Ask for the e-mail address. With that information, you can communicate with your users to get more information at another time, or when they are at a computer with access to the full-form version.

5. Experiment and be flexible: We are at the dawn of QR Codes and smartphone technology. Keep an open mind, and continually absorb best practices as they become available. Experiment with different methods and presentations. We are very early in our exploration of the mobile Web user experience, and the opportunities to make discoveries and innovations are available to all of us.

Now you’re QR curiosity should be quenched!

Questions or comments for Debbie? Please share below!