Reason Magazine and QR Codes in Printed PublicationsPosted on by Timothy Boyle
I was flipping through Reason magazine the other day and came upon an article highlighting the new Republican personalities that are slowly taking over for the moss-covered insiders that have been ruining/running the Party for the past decade, when I noticed a QR code printed with little fanfare in the corner of the article’s lead page. Naturally I got as excited as a 6 year old on Christmas Eve night.
I have always thought that QR codes could be a huge resource in printed text like magazines, books, newspapers, or even academic articles or college thesis. Rarely, however, have I actually seen them used–and the few times I have seen them their actual effectiveness has been highly questionable since they usually only link to the magazine’s desktop home page.
Think about the possibilities though. Say you are a magazine publisher; there is only so much space available for the printed word, photos, graphs or other relevant data. With a QR code however, you can direct your reader to this extra information without taking up much space. Your readers could then be provided with the important information not able to fit into the magazine pages.
Perhaps you are an author of a book and thought an interview for a source incredibly fascinating or important, yet only had room for a small excerpt from said interview. With a QR code you could imbed the entire interview into its coding and allow your readers to access even more relevant and interesting material and right when their interest in the subject is at its peak.
The uses of QR codes in this manner are many, and can easily provide added value to the written word.
In this particular case, the article was discussing Justin Amash, a new exciting figure in American politics and arguably the most transparent Congressman in U.S. history (the truth of that claim is based on his posting of every vote on Facebook with an explanation as to why he voted the way he did, something no other politician would likely ever dream of doing). Upon scanning the code I was then directed to a video interview with the Editor of Reason and Congressman Amash; providing additional content and added knowledge about the individual being discussed.
The use of QR codes in publishing, no matter its form, should be an obvious decision. If you aren’t using this technology it is past time you get on board and provide additional value to the reading public. But of course before you do make sure you read about QR code best practices (so you don’t do what Reason did and fail to put a call to action next to the code) and learn about QR code platforms meant to streamline the process for cheap.