Is this the real problem with QR Codes?

I’m not sure how many of you have had a chance to watch Dave Gorman’s Modern life is goodish.

If you have and you have seen the episode you know what I’m going to say.  But if not, please continue.

There has been an on-going discussion in the Social Media CoP on the use of QR codes and the lack of use and I think Dave Gorman has just summed up what that is.

The first part is taken from the Yellow pages and the second part is how Dave Gorman would explain it in a different context.  Maybe this explains why there not used that much.


What’s this? A QR (quick response) code is a way of loading info quickly onto your mobile. To download our free app.

  1. If a QR Code reader is not pre-installed on your mobile, search for ‘QR code reader’ on your mobiles internet browser and download one.
  2. Launch the reader application
  3. Scan the code on the front cover
  4. Open the link and follow the instruction to download our app
  5. You now have access to the Yell mobile app.

Or just type ‘apps’ directly into your phones browser.



What is this?  An OJ (orange juice) is a way of taking on Vitamin C with your breakfast.  To enjoy some orange juice

  1. f an orange tree is not growing in your garden, search your local garden centre for an orange tree and plant one.
  2. Make sure your orange tree receives plenty of sun and regular water.
  3. Pick some oranges
  4. Squeeze the juice from an orange into a glass
  5. You now have access to some orange juice

Or just buy some orange juice directly from the orange juice aisle.


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Kristoffer Boesen 7 Years Ago
I don't agree much with this, because this only takes into account the first time you need to use a QR code. And installing a QR reader is not really that difficult or foreign an action. And the point of scanning QR codes is exactly that you don't have to enter things into your browser, because the scan can transmit much more detailed information than most people would be happy to type on their smartphone keyboard. "apps yell com" takes you to their own site where you then have to click a couple of times (and download data) to get to for example the "play store" to do the actual download, whereas the QR code could have taken you directly there. If you don't use QR codes to simplify things, then they are useless, but if you use them to add value, I.e. to direct people precisely through a complicated process, they are very useful. Most of the time, when I am on the go, I'd much rather scan a QR code than enter a URL with 10+ characters. Not all councils, organisations or companies have the luxury of having a short search enging optimized site like yell com.
Michael Norton 7 Years ago in reply to Kristoffer Boesen .
Maybe it’s the barrier of having to install a QR reader that is the real issue. Surprised it’s not auto installed. I think my old windows phone had as part of the camera function, which was really handy Maybe it’s not quite the right time for them. Much like the hand held scanners you used to get in the supermarket.
Kristoffer Boesen 7 Years ago in reply to Michael Norton .
I agree, it is strange that they are not autoinstalled, considering how many other (useless) comms tools you get with any phone today. However, much of the fault is from the people creating the codes. Very few codes seem to lead to mobile optimized sites, few create extra value and few explain "why" there's value in scanning the code.
Former Member 7 Years Ago
I saw the programme and totally agree with Dave Gorman. I don't have a QR reader on my phone, because to install it I have to agree to the provider accessing all my data and messages! Also, quite honestly, it's quicker just to google it, and auto-fill suggestions negate the need to type much in these days. QR codes haven't proven themselves to be a 'must have' approach to accessing information online. The idea was good(ish) but mobile internet access is good enough to mean it's not really vital, so people don't bother. For it to work, it needs to offer something the customer wants that they couldn't get without it. Right now, I am not convinced that it does. Perhaps, as Kristoffer says, it's down to people not making best use of the technology in the first place, but for me, as a customer, it just seems like the QR code has been a bit of a Betamax moment.
Marco Reece-Heal 7 Years Ago
QR Codes have still look like a solution trying to find a problem in the public realm. The number of times when a member of the public would be better served by a QR code rather than properly thought out landing pages on council web pages are few and far between. Yes, technically it is quicker to scan a QR code on a notice to get more information rather than googling to the council website but the saving is negligble and requires the public to onboard another technology which has limited / niche use. Members of the public are very familiar with the process of going to the website of a service provider, private or public, and using a clearly though out website to find out the inforamtion that they want and they have little incentive to pick up a new technique, applicable only to mobile technology, to do the same thing slightly faster.
Chris Faires 7 Years ago in reply to Marco Reece-Heal .
In Hertfordshire we have them on roadworks residents letters but are going to be taking them off- they don't offer much added value and also we weren't tracking them- although when we did when we trialled on some footway information boards several years ago. They are better when trying to get people to lengthy urls froms sites. there could be a place for them for certain sites.
Former Member 7 Years ago in reply to Chris Faires .
Not being a smartphone owner probably means that I don't really appreciate the potential scanning pitfalls, but if you want to find a specifc planning application, it must be easier to scan a notice which has embed the whole address into a QR Code eg ,, rather than going through the councils web pages ?
Former Member 7 Years Ago
I have a lot of time for Mr Gorman's view of the world, but really, is his comment really taken seriously? He is a comedian. You could say, "What good is a url?" To access one you need to find a device to access the web....blah, blah. It's still a point worth making though. Let's remember that there are multiple ways to access most data and information. I mean, what good is a Library. you have to print books - blah, blah. Good design has to add value. A QR code can add value, and its understanding where it can be used in that context that separates intelligent ICT use from the rest.
Lawrence Serewicz 7 Years Ago
Thanks for an interesting post. The QR code is about sight. We look at things. We may not be able to type or read. If a QR code reader is installed in Google Glass, for example, I can look at the QR code and receive the information. We receive more informaiton through our sight than anyone other sense. QR codes fit that model. In time, we will look at things through a mediator (a google glass or whatever it develops into) and understand objects, their location, their meaning, and their use. We aspire to the knowledge of the ancient Greek gods who could look at an object and know its nature. We may never reach that but that is what our knowledge systems continually aspire to create. The ironic thing is that we know more and more about less and less because knowledge rarely becomes meaning and meaning very rarely becomes wisdom. I would focus my attention on understanding meaning and searching for knowledge rather than seeking more ways to obtain information. If we rely on the informaiton access to create our meaning we are captivate to the mediator and what it contains rather than using our mind to understand and explore the object's meaning. Thanks for the interesting post. Lawrence
Former Member 7 Years Ago
Why does the choice have to be between a QR code and typing? So why can't "smart" phones just scan an URL text?