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— Nov 16, 2013 —

My single good example of a QR code experience

There are a few people out there (I'm looking at you Katherine Cory!) who have said to me that there are actually times where a QR code could be useful.

I have pooh-poohed this idea as foolhardy and misguided many times in the past, especially with great examples that can be found across the internet, but last night I was made to eat my words.

I live a 10 minute walk from my nearest Cineworld, so when I do manage to have a little bit of spare time, coupled with a movie I really want to watch, I'll grab myself a ticket.

Of course, being the technologically minded kind of guy that I am, you know, being down with the kids and all that, I order them online throughout their website.

This has never been a particularly painful process. But, as generally happens when you work in the field of web design, you find the flaws in usability and point them out to yourself under a few mumbles and sighs, but in truth there wasn't too much wrong with this experience.

At least until QR codes were introduced.

The old way

I've signed up for a myCineworld account, which basically gives me 10% off the general ticket price when I book online, in advance (which can also be done on the same day).

So what has previously happened followed this process:

  1. Find the film you want to watch, on the day you want to watch it, and click the time of the showing you're after.
  2. Select the number of tickets required.
  3. Pick your preferred seat in the screen, preferably as far away from people making noise and using their mobiles during the movie.
  4. Pay.
  5. Receive a confirmation on screen and via email.

And that was it for the online interaction. Once you got to the cinema, you'd have to do the following:

  1. Inevitably queue up at the automated ticket machines.
  2. Insert the card with which you paid for the online booking beforehand.
  3. Tickets are printed.
  4. Take the tickets to the member of staff checking tickets on entry, who will let you through to the world of ridiculously overpriced popcorn, hot dogs and beverages.

At the time, these steps were just the necessary things that you needed to do, they're not intolerable, at least not as intolerable as queueing up for more than 10 minutes behind groups of annoying teenagers and just generally other people who I don't enjoy being stuck behind in any type of queueing situation (yeah, I'm getting old and I moan, get used to it!).

Now with added QR codes!

So what on Earth happened for me to feel the need to write about this and to even go as far as to say a QR code was used for the powers of good?!

Well, here it is.

Rather than an email confirmation of my 'pre-booking' of tickets which I would have to collect later, I received an email with the title of "Your e-ticket".

"Things are looking up", I thought. But below that was a QR code. I was immediately on the back foot and thought that this wasn't going to end well. A little further down as a clickable icon that read "Add to Passbook", and since I was viewing the email on my phone, I thought this would be worth a laugh and would no doubt fall over somehow.

Nope. Up popped my Passbook app, and up popped my Cineworld ticket, QR code taking pride of place in the middle of my screen. Well, surely it'll go wrong when I get there.

Nope. Here's what happened at the cinema armed with my e-ticket.

  1. I walked straight up to the ticket checking member of staff who had a smartphone of some decryption hanging round their neck who scanned my code an pointed me in the direction of the screen.

One step.

No queueing.

No technical hitches.

A great experience

As I've heard Aral Balkan say many a time before, "This makes me feel like a superhero".

I can walk straight past everyone queueing up at the tills, straight to the one person who is effectively the only one who can stop me in my tracks, and they simply wave me through with a smile and an "Enjoy the movie".

That feeling is just brilliant.

And it was all because of a QR code.

Well played Cineworld, well played indeed.