Tapping into the rising popularity of QR codes, Waterfront Auckland has a new trick up its sleeve: a new attraction that uses your smartphone to take you on an interactive tour of the city’s best sights.
Created by Set QR in conjunction with ad agency Republik, the tour uses specially designed QR (quick response) codes that are physically displayed around the waterfront. Users can walk around, scan the codes with their smartphones, and get linked to brief video histories of sights, sounds, and installations in the area.
QR codes are two-dimensional barcodes readable by smartphones with QR scanners. The codes can link the user to a website, text, or other data. In Japan, where QR codes were invented, they are already widely used, but New Zealand has been relatively slow to take up QR codes compared to other parts of the world such as Europe, Asia and the US. However, Ollie Langridge of Set QR thinks this will all change soon.
“What was really cool about this project is that now with smartphone penetration in New Zealand approaching almost 50 percent, it’s great to be able to showcase our work on shore,” Langridge says.
“We’ve been doing this for about five or six years now and only recently has QR awareness come into New Zealand. Seven or eight months ago we had no New Zealand clients, and now we’re putting on a whole lot of big-name New Zealand clients.”
For Langridge, whose company Set QR has worked with several big-name brands overseas such as Louis Vuitton and Time magazine, the Waterfront Auckland project provided a fresh change of pace.
“Normally we’re asked to put brand logos in about 80 percent of our assignments, [but] this one was much more art-based. For us it was a really lovely little job where we could actually get creative about it.”
The QR codes feature different aspects of Auckland’s waterfront such as the Cloud or the Silos, which are integrated into the code’s design. Langridge says the designs reflected the quality of what they wanted to bring to the project.
“All of these things are combined within the codes themselves to give some kind of equity to them, to show people what they were about and what they were going to be scanning.”
The QR code tour also coincides with the launch of Waterfront Auckland’s new adaptive website, which has been revamped and re-designed to be easier and more attractive to use.
For starters, the website is designed to be viewed on any device without the need for separate applications – whether it’s on a phone, tablet, laptop or PC. The site also acts as a portal for all the other websites included in Waterfront Auckland, so users can now easily navigate between all the different sites. A linear tool bar runs along the top of the page, simulating the user’s geographical journey along the waterfront in the same way as a train map.
Nick Hadley, director of Kudos, the web design company behind the website, says Waterfront Auckland is moving in the right direction.
“By mid 2014 there will be more mobile users on the web than PC users, so sites that are built to be optimised for mobile are becoming more than a novelty,” says Hadley.
“Many of the public sites we work with are as dry as dust but Waterfront Auckland have set out to service consumer needs which is great!”