Case Western Reserve University's student newspaper, The Observer, has published an interesting article about the use of snapping camera phone photos of 2D barcodes to obtain information at the school (http://observer.case.edu/Archives/Volume_40/Issue_26/Story_2743).
Reactions were mixed, but many students weren't impressed with the barcodes' value. Two especially interesting points to me:
1. Students wondered why barcodes were necessary if the same information that would be provided by taking a barcode photo to access the Web simply could be provided -- or is provided -- on the paper (poster, advertisement, etc.) where the barcode was printed and
2. Students didn't like barcodes that didn't describe what information would be provided.
What makes sense
My view: A barcode isn't necessary if it's more appropriate to include the information directly on the document. Also, perhaps we'll find that barcodes are used much more when information about their use is provided.
On a movie poster, for example, the text above the barcode could say: "Get a discount coupon, theater locations, schedules and reviews."
Except in certain circumstances -- such as contests, treasure hunts, etc. -- people might need to understand why they should go through the trouble of snapping a photo and waiting for the download of information from the Web. That seems logical to me.
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