Linking Papers to The Web

by @edent | # # | 2 comments

Let's Make It Happen

So, assuming each story has a URL, how would that look
http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/oct/22/post-national-strike-begins

Turning it into a QR code using my encoder...

The URL in QR form

The URL in QR form

That's probably a bit large for a paper - you could shrink it down or cut down on the error rate, but then it would be hard to scan.

Luckily the Guardian redirects mobile phone browsers to their mobile site - rather than trying to cram the whole page on to a tiny screen - so there only needs to be one code per story.

Assuming that the Guardian's CMS works in a vaugely sensible way, each story has an ID. So the URL could be http://guardian.co.uk/?p=123456789

So, using a shorter URL gives us...

Better?

Better?

If they were to use a custom short-url service - guardi.an for example - the code becomes even smaller.

Could this be printed near every important story?  I see they have links within the paper than you have to manually type in - could this be a way to connect the online and offline versions of the paper?

The Telegraph has a brief piece on why they don't use URLs in their paper.

2 thoughts on “Linking Papers to The Web

  1. Rob Murray says:

    So effectively adding a 'Tweet This' button to stories in the papers print edition?

    It's a great idea...but surely any readers who would use a QR code are on Twitter already and if they read the guardian they are probably following them on Twitter too.

    QR technology is no longer the barrier (I remember several years ago having to spend ages lining up my camera with the code - now it takes seconds). It's more a question of why offline readers would want to tweet what they are reading.

    It would be great to have QR codes next to stories linking to relevant online content. For example interviews, photos, quotes (via audioboo?) For example, if i'm reading about the Chelsea match last night I can use the QR code to watch the goals or view The Guardian's 'as it happens' online reporting. If i'm looking at the weather I can link to up to date weather reports. Or you could link a QR code to a Twitter search of relevant tweets/conversations...

    It seems this would only work if the QR code adds value to the readers experience?

    1. The "tweet this" I see as less interesting than "Read More". I see that the paper already has links - this just makes them clickable. Whether you then read, comment, SMS the link, tweet it - is up to you.

      I do like the idea of QR to enhanced content. Click to listen to the interview, watch the trailer for the movie that's reviewed.

      It does need to be more than a gimmick - but seeing as newspapers are relegated to printing "yesterday's news" I think this would give them a good way to keep readers up to date.

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