21 April 2011

Too futuristic? Or already too passé?

One of my most popular posts was a recent one about adding a bit of augmented reality to conference posters using QR codes.

Kristina Kilgrove, a.k.a. Bone Girl, who had written about QR codes almost simultaneously with my post, had a chance to put the idea to the test at a recent meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists:

poster’s been up for 3 hours and NO ONE has scanned the QR code (according to analytics). Wow.

By the end of the day, things had improved... but only very slightly.

have a total of *3* hits through my QR code. Didn’t expect that low a #.

That said, a couple of others had also taken up the notion of trying to enhance their posters through QR codes:

Saw QR codes on posters by @johnhawks and @DrYapyapi today! Way to represent... too bad the physanths aren't prepared for the 21st century.

I’m kind of hoping that it is just a new idea, and not the sort of quickly learned fatigue that Laura Bergalls noted:

The landing pages for most QR codes make you feel like you've been rickrolled. ... Marketers & advertisers have taught us not to scan QR codes. That ship has sailed.

If you try QR codes on your poster, I would love to know what kind of response you get!

Related posts

Smart posters

Picture from here.


Kristina Killgrove said...

I did run into some people who said either "I don't have a smart phone, or else I might scan it" or "I have a smart phone but don't know how to scan QR codes." You might be right about advertiser fatigue - I actually got the idea when I was in Las Vegas a month ago and saw QR codes posted different places promising more information, coupons, etc.

EllenQ said...

I too had a qr on my poster at the AAPAs. I got two hits and one was a colleague who just wanted to see it work.

National Geographic had a large booth at the conference to promote their grants to anthropologists. There were at least four qr codes about 12" square on their display. I would be interested to know what the response was to those codes.

Katie Collette said...

I put one with my contact info on my posterboard (on my posted abstract with program number) with instructions for how to use it. BUT, the poster session was in the basement and when I tried to scan it myself I couldn't get a good enough signal to get to the info. A smart scan fail. How do I check the analytics?

Zen Faulkes said...


D'oh! Screwed by bad lighting! There's another for the "Dear conference organizers" list.

One way to check hits would be to use something like Google Analytics for the page it gets directed to. Not sure if some sites for QR codes do their own analytics.

Zen Faulkes said...


Kristina Kilgore wrote: "My QR code was for a URL (which had text and images from the poster), and I have google analytics set up to monitor that page."

Katie Collette said...

Cool, thanks! It wasn't the lighting though, just the cell signal. I have a friend who had decent service down there though so who knows.

I'll set up a Google Analytics page and check it after next time I use the code.

Anonymous said...

I used 2 QR codes on my poster at the recent AACR annual meeting - one of these was to a manuscript that led into the current work, and the other was just my email address. The only code-scanners were my twitter friends (and new twitter friends) who knew what they were, whereas none of my scientific poster-viewers even asked about them, so to me I guess awareness is still an obstacle to using them more widely.

Gareth said...

Looks like QR codes might be about to get a boost:
Although I wonder how many people who read the dead tree edition of Cell every week also have smartphones and use them enough to take advantage of this? I only ever get articles via the web anyway.