QR Codes feel like technology of the future.  They are handy little matrices seemingly like magic work on everyone’s phone.  Although, QR codes have been used for years they began to really began popping up in the US in the wake of Covid-19.  Most notably, you’ve probably seen them stuck to the tables of your favorite restaurant.  Prompting you to ‘scan for the menu’.  With this cool, hip technology it’s easy to get excited and incorrectly use the black and white squares.  This article is a quick synopsis of when to use, and more importantly, when not to use QR codes.

QR Codes are meant to bring the user from the physical realm, to the digital realm, but not the other way around.  A key example of this is if you were at in in-person event with a booth encouraging folks to sign-up for your email list.  It would be easy to have a QR code on your table that someone could scan, and be directed to the form on your website to sign up.  It’s convenient because potential customer doesn’t have to struggle with inputting a specific URL, and you don’t have to enter all the handwritten emails you received at the event into your system.

There is almost no reason to put a QR code on your website unless it is a very specific situation, like you have created printouts for your users.  QR codes are made to make mobile access easy, however, if you already have a captive audience on a computer, why ask them to switch devices?  By putting a QR code on your website, a user is asked to go find their phone and switch devices.  QR codes are not inherently clickable, so a person cannot stay on their desktop and if they view your website or email on their phone then you’re both out of luck.  Buttons are not nearly as cool or flashy, but provide a much better user experience in this way.

Next time you’re compelled to add a QR code to your website or email campaign, we invite you to ask yourself why you’re using a QR code and if perhaps a button could be a better option.