SXSW QR Codes Fail

As we previously posted badges at SXSW have a photo and a QR Code that decodes to a personal page where delegates can leave a message or access contact information. Organizers hoped that this will cut down on the paper footprint of SXSW by reducing the need for business cards. However scanning the QR Code leads to a simple login page (image below) which contradicts the 3rd Rule: Make the content valuable. The content behind the login page may be valuable but the page itself is not. How do you make the login page valuable and decrease the abandonment rate? Provide just enough information for the user to feel compelled to login and view what comes next. Simple really.

Login page for resolved QR Codes at SXSW

4 thoughts on “SXSW QR Codes Fail”

  1. Hey Roger,

    As the team that is behind the support for the QR Codes at SXSW I think you’re missing the point of this feature in the context of the very unique digital event that is SXSW.

    The login page to is something the vast majority of registrants are aware of as it is the page that is used to plan your schedule for the events/panels/parties you are attending. Most registrants will already be logged into this site and using it extensively, so when they scan a badge they do not see this login page.

    Instead they are seamlessly taken to the Scanee’s profile (which contains all there info, name, company name etc) and automatically “follow” that person, seeing what panels and parties they are attending. The Scanee’s details are also automatically saved and can be accessed later on without having to carry around a pile of business cards.

    This function has already proved extremely popular amongst attendees with over 3000 badge scans in the first 24 hours of registration being opened. With SXSW going for 11 days we expect these number to rise significantly.

    We’ll be sure to keep you in the loop with more info and stats on this awesome use of codes as the conference progresses.

    Thank for the coverage!

    Antony McGregor Dey

  2. @Antony I agree it will be extremely popular. Given the nature of SXSW, the demographic of the attendees and the novelty of QR Codes I would be surprised if it is not a roaring success.

    If you were saying that users have to login only once while they are attending SXSW then I would agree with you. I think you missed a trick, leader boards, games and prizes are what is/will be required.

    Above all the user experience should be fun and definitely not like the login screen shown above.

  3. CNET’s Daniel Terdiman writes “However, while a terrific concept in principle and clearly meant with the best of intentions, it seems that many people either aren’t using the QR code system, don’t understand it, or have abandoned it after an initial attempt, often because they are first taken to a mobile URL asking for their my.sxsw login information, a stumbling block that for those who made it past this step is not repeated on subsequent uses” (Full article here).

    @Antony He also says that “According to SXSW Technical Coordinator Russell Phillips, it would count as a scan if a user got as far as the sign-in screen” so it would be interesting to know the sign-in and click-through rate?

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