Thursday, 7 March 2013

Masson Mills use QR codes to preserve atmosphere

QR codes may make designers shudder, but they are instantly recognisable and relatively small compared to information and interpretation boards. This was the view taken by Masson Mill museum at Cromford in Derbyshire. They have taken to unusual step of removing display boards " as to evoke a sense of the authentic atmosphere of a working cotton mill from the 18th and 19th centuries..."

Given that they are in a deep river valley and the walls and metal machinery preclude an ambient phone signal, they have provided Wi-Fi throughout the visitor area so that once logged in the user has no trouble accessing the content. My only criticism is that the pages are not optimised for the small screen of a mobile, so I had to zoom and pan to read the information, which is a fiddly process. I'd also have preferred an audio or video tour to static information, but maybe this will follow.

Despite their small size, the codes stand out clearly, aided by the orange-coloured 'M' next to them. Do try and visit as this is a really fascinating place with twice-daily demonstrations of working machinery. I'd be interested to hear what you think about them and how effective you find the mobile digital interpretation.