Omega Mobile: Mobile Experience Design Blog
We’re Passionate about Mobile User Interfaces, Experiences, Interactivity, and more!

Archive for Mobile Design

If you're new here, you may want to subscribe to my RSS feed. Thanks for visiting!

The London Games are are in full swing and the television ratings alone stagger the mind, but that’s just a small part of the overall picture. Broadcasters are limited to just one country or region, but digital viewership – and mobile advertising - has no such restrictions. This year, YouTube will live stream the year’s biggest sporting competition throughout the world. And, since so many viewers will watch the London Games on mobile, HTML5 mobile rich media ads are a great way to engage that huge audience.

London Games Timeline 2

The Games provide a fantastic opportunity for integrated, branded mobile advertising, and not just for sports advertisers or official sponsors of the Games. HTML5 mobile rich media ads can focus on specific parts of the Games’ audience – like fans of a particular sport – and appeal to them directly. For example, check out the Sports Timeline, a concept we created specifically for the Games:

The mobile ad presents users with a fully interactive timeline that they can easily navigate by touch. It can appear within an app or a mobile site, or it could be a stand-alone microsite. Either way, the mobile ad shows key moments in the history of a sport – like inventions, innovations, major new records, and the year the sport entered the Games. One or more of the points on the timeline ties in directly with the advertiser’s message.

A mobile ad like this presents information that viewers won’t get from the Games themselves. The broadcast of the cycling competition doesn’t talk about the history of cycling; it talks about who’s winning the race. The mobile advertising timeline concept fills in that gap and complements the experience of watching the Games, for experts and new fans alike. It can even reach fans who are actually at the Games in person – something television ads can never do. And, since users specifically choose to look at the timeline for each sport, we know they’re particularly engaged: no need to worry about wasting impressions on fencing fans when you only want to reach cyclists.

The Sports Timeline concept is not limited to sports drink or equipment manufacturers. The mobile ad is an exercise in branding. It aligns a company with a particular concept and with the Games as a whole. i For example, a digital camera maker could mention the role of the “photo finish” in equestrian events to show off its history of innovation. Or an automobile manufacturer could demonstrate its commitment to sustainability by showing how energy-efficient cars with advanced GPS track cyclists along their route. Or the U.S. Marines might align themselves with fencing events, because Marines in uniform still wear swords! And who doesn’t love swords? You get the idea – the Games are a treasure trove of demographic data, regardless of industry.

Don’t be shy of large events with worldwide audiences. Hundreds of millions are excited for the London Games. Mobile advertising provides opportunities to get in front of small slices of a very, very large pie, and it offers a more interactive and engaging experience than traditional television advertising. The timeline ad concept is just one example; it taps into the audience’s excitement and need for new information, and it offers genuine value.

This is the second in a series of excerpts from a new white paper on How to Create Successful Mobile Apps: Strategies and Tactics for Brands, Advertisers, Agencies, & Marketers.

Marketing Benefits of Mobile Apps

Provide Instant Gratification

Since an app is installed on a consumer’s device, all your functionality as well as the bulk of your graphics and content will reside on the device. This allows your app to always be available for immediate use; the consumer doesn’t have to wait for long downloads every time he wants to access your content. Today’s media-oriented consumers are accustomed to having instant access to rich media on their television sets, DVD players, video game systems, tablets, and mobile phones. Apps uphold this expectation while providing rich, customized content.

If you can imagine it, you can probably create it.

Rich Media Increases Engagement

samurai sounds How to Create Successful Mobile Apps White Paper Excerpt #2: Marketing Benefits of Mobile AppsMobile apps allow you to develop highly customized, rich media experiences that engage mobile users. Building audio, video, photos, graphics, and text that effectively communicate your brand and marketing message is sometimes not possible on a mobile site. A custom mobile app is designed to incorporate all of these types of media to offer the richest experience possible.

Enables Deep Customization

action countdownCreating your own app lets you customize both content as well as look and feel. If you can imagine it, you can probably create it. Apps offer many options for designing custom screens, functionality, and experiences. Custom apps provide the same high-quality delivery of a television commercial, video game, or a very rich online experience. Since you know your audience’s demographics, psychographics, and other characteristics, you can create apps that match your users’ preferences.

Maximize Device Capabilities for Exciting Interactions

Since the release of the iPhone in 2007, Apple and its competitors have added sophisticated new device functions that are now considered standard. Examples: GPS, high-resolution camera lenses, accelerometers, high-resolution touch screens, and faster processors. Brands, marketers, and advertisers can take advantage of these phone capabilities as they develop high-quality, sophisticated apps that perform like computer programs.

These technical improvements provide significant marketing benefits by allowing companies to create interactive messaging that persuades the viewer to take action. Touch screens, in particular, heighten user engagement as mobile app users move their fingers across the screen. Likewise, higher-resolution displays increase user satisfaction with photo and movie media. GPS creates the potential to lead viewers right to the nearest store.

Communicate a brand’s message quickly and effectively while dazzling them with richness.

Visually Represents Brand Well

vodka flavors blood orangeDue to rich media and technical advances in smartphones, brands can take advantage of high-quality graphics, photos, videos, and audio that display well on high-resolution mobile screens. Gone are the days when apps from different industries typically looked the same due to device constraints. For example, a serious financial app might have appeared similar to an entertainment app. Now, the creative possibilities are staggering.

Use Rich Experiences to Target and Attract People

soda sound mixerWith the technical bar having been raised by Apple and other smartphone manufacturers and software developers, people now expect visually stunning mobile apps. The multimedia components in an app need to communicate a brand’s message quickly and effectively while dazzling them with richness. It’s the potential for interaction and the great content that keeps them coming back for more.

Excerpts from this white paper are being published on Omega Mobile’s Mobile Experience Blog. You can download a full copy of the white paper here:

How to Create Successful Mobile Apps White Paper Strategies and Tactics for Brands, Advertisers, Agencies, & Marketers

Every few years the world gets together on one stage to compete against each other in sports, but mobile advertisers are competing with each other in the business world every day. While athletes compete in London, smart marketers will take advantage of every opportunity they can get to tie their advertising in with this unique opportunity.

London Games Olympic Poll Concept

TechBargains survey showed a high amount of mobile video viewing and social interaction is expected during the games. It revealed that, “Nearly half (44%) of respondents said they would interact with social media often or very often during the Olympics.” As a brand or advertiser, how can you capitalize on what is at the top of everyone’s mind? One way is to conduct mobile polls that build on the concepts of competition and winning.

In an earlier post, 2012 Olympics Mobile Advertising & HTML5 Concepts, I shared some concepts we developed around the games for and with our partners in mobile advertising. One idea featured a polling concept that could run throughout the day around various sporting events. This post will cover the mobile advertising polling concept in more detail. In our original concept the viewer initially sees a mobile advertiser’s ad with a specific event listed under it with the question, “Who do you think will take home the gold?”

While the ad stays up, the viewer sees a flag and country name for each of the participants. Then it goes to full screen with the question again and shows each of the countries so the user can vote. The next screen presents voting results and invites viewers to post their pick to Facebook or Twitter. The mobile advertiser gets a good amount of on-screen time while the user thinks about the event and the advertising sponsor. It’s engaging and effective.

Voting on who will win an event ties into the most common discussions people have on a daily basis. Plus you get bragging rights if you guess correctly. Polls can target specific audiences so not everyone views the same sport. Content and results are animated via HTML5. As an advertiser, you can choose any type of sport to focus the polling or voting around. Just think what fun and consumer engagement various industries could have with other polls tied into a sporting events theme:

  • QSR (Quick Service Restaurants): Use HTML5 mobile rich media ads to get consumers thinking about the food choices you offer. They could vote on what they think is the healthiest menu item from your restaurant to eat after a competition. Then offer a discount on the winning food to whoever voted.
  • Travel: Show footage of all the London sites and then sponsor a poll about where the ideal games should be held. As visitors vote on specific locations, tie that in with footage of the suggested site and offer great travel deals so they don’t have to wait any longer to see it for themselves.
  • Retail/Fashion: A retail store could have fans vote on the best outfit to wear to a sports competition. Participants could receive coupons for their winning ensemble. A sporting goods store might sponsor a poll about which athletic apparel helps you perform at your best when swimming, playing volleyball, or shooting hoops.

Mobile advertising related to large-scale events is all about taking advantage of timely opportunities and thinking about how your brand’s product or service ties into the event. You can have fun, engage users, and increase sales with this type of marketing strategy. Just remember, it’s great to tie in with a major event for branding and awareness, but the point is to get somebody to take an action regarding your product or service.

This is the first in a series of excerpts from our white paper on How to Create Successful Mobile Apps: Strategies and Tactics for Brands, Advertisers, Agencies, & Marketers.

create successful mobile apps How to Create Successful Mobile Apps White Paper Excerpt #1

Mobile Apps Enable Richer Consumer and Brand Interactions

About Mobile Apps

Similar to software installed on a desktop computer, Mobile apps are software that is stored and run on a mobile device. This allows the software to take advantage of the capabilities provided by the mobile device it runs on. From consumers’ standpoints, apps offer instant gratification. They see an icon for an application directly on their mobile device. When they select that icon, the application loads immediately and is ready for their use.

People carry their smartphones everywhere they go.

Mobile Apps Offer Limitless Communication Possibilities

Mobile apps offer almost unlimited capabilities. As long as your targeted handsets support it, you can deliver virtually anything. This benefit, along with mobile’s highly personal nature, renders it a critical tool for marketers. People carry their smartphones everywhere they go. GPS capabilities further facilitate interaction between your message and the viewer.

Plus, when you send your messages, smartphones also allow consumers to respond immediately through a simple button press. When they press it, behavioral profiles and analytics are delivered to your company.

Below we’ve included some examples of content you can deliver to your mobile apps users from app installation to follow up.

Stay Top of Mind with Messaging

Keep consumers tuned to your brand by inserting standard messages, photos, graphics or videos within the app, then updating them with new information whenever you wish. Note that sending messages at regular intervals is more important than the number of messages you send. In fact, too many messages may turn off mobile app users. So always consider why you’re sending a message and its value to the receiver.

Engage Users with Offers

Exciting new offers keep app users engaged, causing them to return to your app more frequently to check out the latest promotions from your brand. You don’t always have to offer substantial product discounts to attract users. Just send them on a regular basis and make them fun and engaging.

Drive Purchasing with Coupons

Most people enjoy receiving discount coupons to purchase products or services. You might even try a theme. For example during holidays or special events, consider sending a coupon related to that theme. If you’re an athletic shoe company, you might send promotions tied to large athletic events. If you’re a toy store chain, you might ramp up your coupons during the holidays. Having a reason for sending the coupon makes it much more relevant to the consumer.

Enhance Messaging with Videos

Everyone likes viewing videos. You can use them to better explain products, services, almost anything. The key is to keep your videos concise and only send quality videos to your app users. In our age of YouTube and smartphones with built-in high-resolution cameras, app users expect and recognize quality.

Today’s media-oriented consumers are accustomed to having instant access to rich media.

Use High-End Graphics to Maximize Your Brand Image

Appropriate graphics are particularly adept at quickly and effectively communicating a brand’s image. However, if you want your mobile apps to positively reflect upon your brand and/or match existing campaigns, quality graphics are critical. They need to match the sophistication consumers have come to expect from you and your branding. You can incorporate any graphics you like, including animated ones that complement text and other content.

Mobile apps allow you to develop highly customized, rich media experiences that engage mobile users.

Excerpts from this white paper are being published on Omega Mobile’s Mobile Experience Design & Strategy Blog.

You can download a full copy of the white paper here:
How to Create Successful Mobile Apps White Paper – Strategies and Tactics for Brands, Advertisers, Agencies, & Marketers

We published a white paper earlier this year on creating successful mobile apps. The white paper provides an overview of how marketers, advertisers, agencies, and brands can effectively create mobile apps to improve brand recognition, boost lead generation and increase customer engagement.

white paper cover

Key Topics:

  • Maximizing best practices for creating sticky apps
  • Leveraging social media to reach more consumers
  • Enhancing communications between brand and consumer
  • Capturing leads while increasing engagement
  • Enabling viral messaging to promote products and services
  • Creating unique interactivity to increase engagement
  • Targeting and enticing more consumers through rich media

The white paper also facilitates the mobile app creation process by providing easy-to-use worksheets that help with initial planning, such as evaluating apps for inspiration and setting goals and strategies. Another worksheet assists with the design phase. Others target content and social strategy development.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be releasing a series of excerpts.

You can download a full copy of the white paper here:
How to Create Successful Mobile Apps White Paper: Strategies and Tactics for Brands, Advertisers, Agencies, & Marketers

Over the past year we’ve worked with mobile advertising partners creating various mobile rich media ad products and HTML5 mobile ad experiences. We want to share some of the latest HTML 5 and microsite concepts we created around the 2012 Olympic Games.

2012 Olympics Mobile Advertising and HTML5 Concepts

Our concepts fell into two groups: for official and non-official sponsors. Since only official sponsors are allowed to associate themselves directly with the Olympic games, we came up with “live-data” concepts for official sponsors. We wanted to tie into the excitement and immediacy of the games. The ideas became ads as news. The concepts tie into close to real-time sports data providers so the ad viewer could get the latest Olympic information. A couple of ideas include:

  • Medal Count – Allows consumers to see up-to-the minute medal count results.
  • Daily Previews & Recaps – Consumers received the latest Olympic news and previews of coverage and events occurring later in the day.

We also needed to broaden the concepts to non-official sponsors to broaden the business opportunity for our partners. Concepts we designed for sponsors (official or not) include:

  • HTML5 Mobile Casual Games – We focused on a basketball mini-game. Remember the game you played as a kid where you had one minute to take as many shots as possible? That’s essentially recreated using HTML5. Many don’t know that interactive games with Flash-like experiences can be developed with HTML5 and be deployed today. The most exciting thing about HTML5 mobile games is that they can be distributed across mobile web. This means larger reach and a larger audience.
  • London Games Quiz – Another concept we developed is an HTML5 mobile quiz game based on Olympic trivia. Users have a time limit and the faster they respond, the higher the score gets. Users are allowed to then share and post results, as well as inviting other friends to play.
  • Sport Timeline – In this concept we created an interactive HTML5 mobile experience where the user interacts with a timeline. As they move their finger across the screen dates, copy, and photos update as the consumer sees information about the innovation for a particular sport. This allows a sponsor or advertiser to associate themselves with any type of sport.
  • Polling & Voting – We wanted to use polling concept that could be run throughout the day around various sporting events. Voting on who you think will win an event ties into the most common discussions people have on a daily basis. Plus you get bragging rights if you guess correctly. Polls were also targeted for specific audiences so not everyone views the same sport. Content and eesults are animated via HTML5. Advertisers can choose any type of sport to focus the polling or voting around.

The experiences we’ve been working on often get served via an expandable banner ad or a mobile microsite. HTML5 for mobile is especially exciting in that it’s enabling wide-scale interactivity and experience over mobile web. You’ll start seeing more and more rich experiences outside of apps.

Sponsors or advertisers can create custom experiences and UI components and are not relegated to standard web UI controls. HTML5 makes mobile advertising more enjoyable and encourages users to linger on microsites longer. An article in Digiday predicts major mobile interaction around the Games this summer, which gives advertisers a great chance at marketing products through dynamic microsites.

Over the next few weeks we’ll be sharing more about our Olympic as well as other concepts. Stay tuned.

What is it about Mother’s Day? Or for that matter, mothers in general? It seems like every time I’ve had a conversation lately about someone’s core audience, they tell me “We’re targeting moms.” Michael Kors is tapping into the mom market with a well designed mobile strategy. They are rolling out their latest and greatest with a mobile campaign targeting just Mother’s Day. Targeting a niche market along with an event is a solid mobile strategy that offers many opportunities.

blog post mobile design strategy michael kors Mobile Design Strategies for Niche Markets & Events Inspired by Michael Kors

As an article points out in Luxury Daily, fashion label Michael Kors is the leader this Mother’s Day on social media, particularly with a mobile based contest. Marketer John Casey pointed out, “…Next Mother’s Day, a mobile-based contest will be old news.”The article goes on to describe Michael Kors newest campaign, spear-headed with a mobile-based contest. To get the word out to their current customer base they used other social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest to push the contest. Using the slogan “What She Wants,” the basic premise behind the contest is to funnel potential customers to the Kors ecommerce site which leads them to a specific area with cherry-picked gifts that mother’s would love.

CEO of Cross Pixel Media, Alan Pearlstein, agrees that there is a pressing need to examine the smaller markets instead of the broad scope. So instead of the Kors brand marketing to all women who could potentially become mothers, those who will not become mothers at all, or just women in general, they chose a specific demographic:

  • Women over 40 (Facebook’s most active group)
  • Women who have discretionary income to purchase luxury items
  • Women who use their smart phones on a regular basis to shop

The idea of using a mobile based contest is not new, but the strategy of using an event or holiday to increase brand or product awareness is a good one. Michael Kors took one section of the bigger piece of market pie, and narrowed it down specifically t o those who would be interested in Kors products, and those who need to buy their mother’s a gift. By using the catchy tag-line “What She Wants,” Kors is implying that yes, of course, your mother wants a product with the Michael Kors brand.

This works well as part of a mobile design strategy. Mobile niche marketing is an excellent way to push a certain type of product or service into the public’s eye but careful planning is essential to a campaign’s success. Initially you will want to examine which events, holidays, or seasons work the best for your campaign. Analyze what products will fit within the event you have in mind. If you are unsure which products, or which event might work the best, run a few test campaigns to see where you get the biggest response. You could even segment an ad and direct it to different target markets to see which demographic responds.

Once you have figured out what works and what doesn’t, then consider scaling your campaign. It is essential that you get the marketing message down beforehand. The next step would be to find neighboring markets to branch into. For instance, the Kors brand might realize that men need to buy Mother’s Day gifts too for their mothers or wives. What kind of campaign would answer and meet their needs? Last-minute gift ideas, calendar reminders, and other helpful items provide high value to potential male customers.

A caveat to all these good thoughts on scaling down your market: if you do not measure, you will fail. It is ultimately up to you to examine the data of your market to determine where there is a need. It’s vital to examine your analytics to see what target market you could grow a campaign with. Mobile ads and especially mobile contests targeted for certain type of individuals will garner more success than the casually flung campaign across any and all who might stumble upon it.

While watching TV the other day, I noticed a Shazam logo pop up on the screen. Of course, I immediately searched and came across this really interesting Ad Age article about how Shazam’s new mobile marketing app listens to what you’re watching and serves up synchronized content on your phone. This new technology allows companies to target their mobile design strategy to what consumers are viewing on TV, creating a whole new way to think about interactive television.


Back in the late 90s when folks were first envisioning interactive television, we assumed the interaction would be taking place on the TV screen. Using either a remote or a touch screen, we would engage and drive television content. What Shazam’s mobile marketing app achieves is true interactivity. It shifts how we think about interactive TV, opening up amazing possibilities for brands and consumers. Instead of interactivity taking place on one screen, it takes place on two.

The content remains on the TV and the interaction happens on the mobile device, allowing brands and networks to coordinate mobile design in support of TV shows and commercials. Shazam’s mobile app works by leveraging the company’s sound recognition technology to drive interaction, solving the challenge of syncing interaction to timed content. Sound recognition provides a ‘bridge’ for perfectly syncing broadcast content to a mobile device, which otherwise would be a very complex process. What this means is that when the Shazam app picks up the appropriate words or music from the TV, a corresponding mobile experience or ad will appear instantly on your phone.

With Shazam’s technology, the mobile design experience possibilities are endless. Broadcast networks, for example, can enhance a program’s content during the show itself to increase programming loyalty. The two screens, mobile and TV, can play off each other simultaneously, as opposed to being related yet still working individually. In addition, networks can prevent people from changing the channel by providing interesting experiences during commercial breaks. For example, during breaks the network might show you ads for upcoming programs and remind you to schedule alerts. They can quiz you and offer prizes. Tease what will happen after the break.

Most advantageous to networks, Shazam’s mobile marketing app allows them to sell more advertising on combined units. Not only can they sell standard network slots, but they can also sell the accompanying interactions on mobile devices. Brands, too, like the interactive possibilities for an integrated rich experience. Many are designing their own versions of Shazam’s mobile marketing app to create interactivity between TV content and mobile devices.

These kinds of mobile marketing apps marry television’s broad profile marketing with mobile behavioral targeting. For example, you might watch an ad on TV from an auto manufacturer. Then, based on your profile, your mobile device will provide you with additional mobile design advertising based on your specific profile and preferences. Instead of everyone seeing additional content for the same vehicle, the person will get the most likely vehicle they are interested in (SUV, luxury sedan, sports car, etc) timed perfectly to the spot on the television. Because the interactivity will make commercials more interesting, these integrated mobile marketing apps and experiences may just solve the DVR issue of consumers bypassing all commercial content.

Shazam’s application of their technology is rather new. It’ll be interesting to see how many consumers embrace this type of interactivity. One thing is for sure though, the possibilities for innovation in mobile design and interactive tv have increased dramatically.

Coca-Cola Freestyle is revolutionizing soda fountain machines by letting consumers mix up to 125 different flavors of soft drinks, waters, lemonades and sports drinks. Though the machine was first launched three years ago, it’s set to reach critical mass in 2012—which is why Coca Cola is launching mobile marketing and social apps to coincide with Freestyle. Their new vending concept is quite inspiring for mobile design strategies – it also shifts consumer loyalty from the QSR chain that contains the Freestyle to the Freestyle itself.coke freestyle Mobile Design Strategies Inspired by Coke Freestyle

What’s most significant about Freestyle’s technology is that while consumers are mixing, the machine gathers data about consumer preferences and relays it back to Coca Cola, enabling the company to understand which flavors are most popular at particular times of the day. In this sense, Freestyle works much like a successful mobile marketing app. It gathers information from consumers while offering value to that consumer.

According to an article in AdAge, the limited number of Freestyle machines out there has already been highly successful at driving foot traffic and increasing in-store sales by 20-30%. The article also states that “more than 20% of consumers said they would be very likely to switch restaurants or convenience stores due to the presence of Freestyle”. This is extremely significant if Coca Cola manages to pull it off.

If the consumer experience is strong enough, consumer desire can be shifted from the fast food chain to the vending experience. For example, if Coke is doing a better job of reaching the customer via mobile, the customer will likely choose a location with a Freestyle instead of the food itself. In other words, it may not be an issue of “Do I want a burger, pizza, or taco” but “where can I get my Freestyle”?

By combining new vending technolgies with mobile design strategies, Coca Cola and other companies can harness the immediacy of mobile to further consumer interaction with their own products.

Mobile design ideas & strategies inspired by Coke’s Freestyle:

  • When using Freestyle, let users ‘check in’ on their mobile phones so you can build up preferences over time.
  • Offer random free extras like a coupon for a free drink or a size upgrade when using the machine.
  • Give reward points and let users redeem those points through their mobile phones.
  • Rather than conduct A/B testing for new flavors, rotate new flavors to avoid bias and see what people respond to best.
  • Create partner or restaurant chain promotions and see which ones work best.
  • Test promotions then target specific mobile customers based on your data. This will boost your marketing success.
  • Offer free gifts like drinks and size upgrades on special occasions. For example: “Happy birthday! Have a Coke on us.”
  • Track specific individual preferences to custom tailor offers. For example, if you know a user prefers Sprite and onion rings, send him a deal for a burger, onion rings, and a Sprite.
  • Enable consumers to find a nearby machine, access their reward points, and check their latest offers

In sum, people will be loyal to the vending machine itself. A successful mobile design strategy enhances the experience by allowing consumers to share favorites, check reward points, get offers, and find a machine. These tips go for Coca Cola and any company venturing into the world of mobile marketing apps.

In my last post, I talked about how the success of QR really depends on developing a smart mobile strategy and executing that mobile strategy with good mobile design. In this post, I thought I’d further that discussion by pointing out additional factors that influence QR code success. One, you need to thoughtfully integrate barcodes into your print ad and/or packaging. Two, you need to include enticing text that explains to consumers what they get for scanning the barcode. Having a visually prominent barcode accompanied by a solid offer will lead to desired traffic.

Solid QR Design Drives Mobile Web Success

Let’s do a little experiment. Flip through some magazines and look at how different companies are using barcodes in their print communications. How often do you see a barcode by itself with no additional explanation like a simple “Scan here”? How frequently does the copy explain what you’ll get by scanning the barcode? For example, a barcode might be accompanied by text like: “Scan to find the nearest boutique” or “Scan here for a coupon”? Is the barcode sitting in the corner of the ad all by itself?

Your research will probably show that most QR codes look like stickers placed into an ad with no explanation at all. That’s a big problem. Especially with new technology, consumers need to be taught what to do. You have to give them a reason to scan the code. This is where your mobile design strategy comes in. If you want to raise awareness about store locations, lead them to a boutique. If you want to increase product trial, offer a coupon. Good mobile design will entice consumers to take additional action.

When I look at how barcodes are used in print ads, I often think of the barcode as a call-to-action. It’s essentially a ‘button’ that leads consumers to make a purchase or learn more about a product. But most QR codes are not being used that way. Instead, you’ll find barcodes placed in the corner of ads all by themselves. To me, this is the equivalent of using a button on a web page with no text whatsoever.

The solution? Integrate the barcode into your ad and include a solid offer. The code should be seamlessly placed into the ad’s design just like any other element. It should also lead to a site whose mobile design promotes further consumer action. Going back to the button analogy, you wouldn’t put a button off in a corner of a critical web page. Rather, your whole design for that web page would center on driving the user to take action.

The QR code should be similarly integrated into your print communications in a way that is visually appealing and provides incentives for scanning. Check out this slideshow on visually creative QR codes from Mashable. I’d expect to see a lot more creative use of QR in the future as designers become more familiar with them.

Lastly, you want to create various QR offers and test them to determine which one yields the best response. To do this, use the same print ad and only vary the ‘preview’ of what the user gets with the QR code, such as:

  • Scan for location
  • Scan for coupon
  • Scan for video

Then track the hits on your mobile designed site to see which incentive delivered the most traffic.

There are plenty of companies who are using them correctly. According to a post on Online Spin, Home Depot and Best Buy have launched extensive QR centered campaigns, putting tags on their products to enhance the in-store experience. Also, over 45,000 new codes were created last quarter alone. Barcodes are rapidly taking their place as a viable marketing tool. The key is to use them strategically and design them wisely.

You’ll see more success when the QR design experience is thought through.