Choosing an appropriate call to action

Choosing an appropriate call to action

Broken call to action: the flyer with a QR code and nothing else

I live in a rural area where the dominant demographic is retired people. To give you an idea of the community, one of the persistent issues faced by local government is funding the local bus service, because almost none of the passengers have to pay a fare – they all use ‘Freedom Passes’, the travel scheme which entitles most retired people to travel for free on public transport.

Considering this audience, why would a local political office choose to deliver leaflets where the only call to action was a QR code? No phone number or address, no web-site, Twitter handle or Facebook link – just a QR code, without any explanation of what it means or how to use it.

It is an example of the most basic principle of human-centred design: knowing your users.

Indeed, there is an argument there is no age group or demographic where using a QR code to the exclusion of everything else would be a good idea, but it is especially bad practice in an area where knowledge of these arcane symbols is likely to be close to zero.

Given that political parties are supposed to represent their constituents, it is particularly unfortunate to see them producing a piece of design which fails the basic test of being appropriate to user needs.

This is not a question which would have required user testing or even secondary research: basic empathy alone should have been sufficient. So much bad user experience design still falls within the territory of ‘problems easily solved by common sense’. These are issues which don’t need large budgets or complex skills: just the ability to ask the obvious question: “Who is going to use this?”

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