Photo by Dai KE on Unsplash

Pinterest solves QR’s UX problem

In my everlasting quest to find legitimate uses for the QR code technology, I came across a little thing Pinterest is rolling out that seems to actually solve one of the largest hurdles of QR codes — the need to have a QR code scanner app on your mobile device (Thanks Kaitlin McKenna).

The idea of a QR code is great: have a visual you can place in the real world that can be scanned by a mobile device bringing the user to a preset destination on said mobile device. Unfortunately, the UX of this, in practice, is kludgy and inefficient on multiple levels: 1) You’re expecting the user to have a QR scanner app on their device; 2) You’re expecting them to know how to use it; and 3) You’re assuming they’ll give a crap about the entire process and stay engaged enough to actually reach the page you want them to view. It pretty much fails across the board on UX.

Pincodes are much prettier than QR codes.

Then along comes Pinterest with a way to dial in to their already dedicated userbase. They’ve created “Pincodes” (yes, not very creative, but accurate), that will exist in the real world and allow users to snap a photo inside their Pinterest app— taking the place of the QR scanner app that nobody has. Once snapped, the user will be taken to a brand’s curated board (e.g. “gifts under $100”).

They are rolling it out with select brands right now (Nordstrom, Real Simple Magazine) but it seems to me that they’ve found a real way to make this stagnant technology work smarter for themselves and for other consumer brands. Finding a way to monetize the platform AND make a better experience for their users?

Yep, pretty much a win-win.

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