Using a new technology
Back in January we wrote about the good and bad uses we have seen for QR codes. These days Layar seems to be replacing QR codes in some of the print materials we read but the problems are the same… if used incorrectly what should be an augmented experience for the user is actually detrimental. 

What is Layar
Layar is an application that is intended to make the print world clickable. With Layar, publishers and advertisers can quickly and easily activate their static print pages with digital experiences. For example, an advertiser can buy a full page print ad and then add a second “Layar” that when a reader scans the page with the app it takes them to a video of the product in use. This gets the user more engaged with the product. Publishers can also use Layar to enhance articles with videos of the subjects or the authors themselves or with links to related web pages.

Here are a few videos not by Layar themselves but by other companies that are using the technology to impress. Sappi, a fine paper company that prints a magazine called “What’s Next” and has made a terrific video that shows how Layar can be used effectively throughout a publication.  Nissan launched a huge interactive print campaign using Layar that won them an award at the 2012 Media Innovation Awards. If used right Layar can truly enhance the experience of the reader. 

Layar gone bad
My first experience with Layar did not go well. I will not name the print publication here but when I held my phone over the page I was taken to a non-mobile website. I could not read what the advertiser had intended as an enhancement to my reading experience. I tried 2 other pages in the same publication and only one led to a mobile-enhanced web page. 

My second experience was so funny that I had to capture it. 

So bottom line is…If you are going to use new technology to enhance my reading experience please make sure that it works. I have not stopped reading the offending publications (yet) but I might. While I think the blame is actually on the advertiser and not on the publication itself all publications that offer Layar as an option to their advertisers should make sure that they do know how to use it.

Jeff & Tara Ciecko
 of CK Golf Solutions write two blogs on their website, one is their 19th Hole Blog where they share personal experiences and the Biz Blog where they share business best practices and golf industry related opinions. They have owned CK Golf Solutions for 5 years and provide marketing, social media and business services to the golf and other industries.