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The Atlantic Uses Extra Icons to Bring More Content to Print Readers


The next three issues of The Atlantic will feature Extra icons in them. Extra icons function similarly to a QR code where in print magazine readers will be able to use a smartphone app to scan these QR codes and get access to multimedia content and video interviews that are available only to tablet and website readers.

These QR codes like icons will be appearing for three months starting with the Big Ideas issue that will come out in July. For this issue, you can scan the cover story “Why women Still Can’t Have It All” and get a video interview with Hanna Rosin. Scanning their story about the Olympics will give you access to a gallery of past torchbearers. These are just two of the seven add-ons that the magazine has prepared for its readers.

This gives print readers the chance to get to know the content that is available for The Atlantic’s online readers. So now, all you need to have is your smartphone and a copy of your magazine and see what is available on the magazine’s site.

BeQRious thinks that this is a great way to let your readers interact with the magazine in a novel way. You are not only giving them what is printed on your pages, but you now have the ability to bring them more. That is really an added value that you can give your readers that is very low cost, especially since magazines such as The Atlantic already produces the same content for their online readers.

What is confounding is why the magazine used the Extra icons, rather than just using QR codes. Having to install another mobile app just to scan their codes would possibly turn off a lot of readers. Their readership would most likely have a QR code scanner already installed on their mobile phones, so why complicate the process by having to install again. What’s more, unlike QR codes, which they are likely to encounter again, these Extra icons are just available for their readers.

What we need right now is another innovative use of a proven solution: QR codes. We do not need another platform or another kind of code. We’re sure that these Extra icons will go the way of Microsoft Tags and Scan Tags, good to have around, but ultimately useless and ineffective.

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