A Clickable World
True, QR codes are useful, but wouldn't it be great if you didn't need to print that ugly block of code? One in-plant has been testing a technology that links the printed and online worlds without the need for a barcode.March 2013 By Bob Neubauer
By now, most people know how to use a QR code. Once you have a reader installed on your mobile device, you just scan the code on a printed piece and it opens a website or a video, or brings some other pertinent data to your screen. It's an excellent way to link the printed and online worlds, and enhance the value of the printed piece.
One problem though: those QR codes are just plain ugly. Designers cringe at the thought of destroying their careful creations with clunky blocks of black bits.
True, there are other types of slightly more pleasant-looking matrix barcodes, like the Microsoft Tag, but wouldn't it be great if you didn't need a barcode at all? One in-plant has been testing such a technology and getting some great results.
University of Mississippi Printing and Graphic Services was chosen by Ricoh as part of a pilot program to test its not-yet-available Clickable Paper technology. Those who attended Graph Expo last fall may recall that Ricoh won a Must See 'Ems award for this image recognition technology, which lets users, armed with the free app, take a picture of a printed page (no code) and get a choice of multiple links to follow for additional information.
"It doesn't just get you to a landing page and you're stuck on that landing page," enthuses Tony Seaman, the recently retired director of Printing and Graphic Services at Ole Miss, in Oxford, Miss., "it gets you to a menu that you can go back and forth on."
Once an image is made "clickable" by the software, one need only point a mobile device at the image and click. The Clickable Paper app, called CP Clicker, opens a menu of six tabs, which can be links to websites, blog posts, social media, videos, etc. Unlike with QR codes, users can chose among several options, then return to the menu to check out the other choices.
So far, Seaman says, the in-plant has gone live with three projects using Clickable Paper. The Ole Miss logo, he reveals, is clickable, meaning that any version of the logo, no matter when it was printed, can be scanned. Users can then chose between links to Ole Miss news, sports, university history, the orientation program, etc.