Semacodes are pretty cool.
The all knowing Wikipedia with it’s dazzling array of cross-links describes a semacode thusly:
a URL can be converted into a type of barcode resembling a crossword puzzle, which is called a “tag”. Tags can be quickly captured with a mobile phone‘s camera and decoded to obtain a Web site address. This address can then be accessed via the phone’s web browser
In essence you take a photo of a thing (see top right) and your phone does something interesting.
In Japan (rumour has it) they’re very common. But they call them QR Codes. And they’ve started doing things like putting them on their business cards so that you can just photograph it and then get the contact information into your address book. Kinda Cool.
Where all of these sorts of innovation fall down is using them just for the sake of it. You’ve got to ask yourself that question, “wouldn’t it just be simpler to…?”. For example just taking a disposable photo of an address instead of bluetoothing it to my phone – see my previous post on Photonotes.
So I was puzzled to see this Nike site with a QR code on it:
I’ve sat and thought about it. In fact I’m still thinking about it….I’m sure I’m missing out on something because I don’t read Japanese. But in the best case it’s going to add something to my phone (a graphic, an application, a screensaver, a bit of video?) or, and I really hope this isn’t the case, it takes my phone to a web page. But either way surely getting someone to use their phone to do something when they’re already engaged on a website seems a bit odd.
Or even more bizarrely… If someone was accessing this website on their phone (as many people in Japan do). How are they supposed to take a photo of this QR code?!?!
Please can someone Japanese put me out of my ignorant misery, please. I’d love to know why this is there.