Tuesday, 5 April 2011

NFC Tag Trials Update : NFC Icons / Marks

Interesting update on the NFC tag trials. We are looking to provide users with pre-programmed and pre-printed NFC tags. The printing will be user-selectable (including the choice of no print at all) and we've been working with a number of users on their preferences for this.

The problem appears to be with identifying the tag as an NFC tag. While there are 'official' logos being used for NFC tags such as the N-Mark from the NFC Forum , many users have commented that icons like this don't give any indication to the general user to what they should actually do. The issue is that while it's likely that in the future more people will be aware of the meaning behind such an icon, for Kimtag users who want to be the 'early adopters' of such technology, it's not helping much.

Essentially, the feedback we are getting is that the icons should be more representative of the fact that the NFC tag is something that can be scanned with a mobile phone. Clearly, there are a limited number of mobile phones that are capable of this - but that will change. At the very least, people viewing the tag will at least understood that they could/should scan the tag with a mobile rather than seeing a N-shaped icon which is likely to mean very little.

This situation is compounded to a certain degree by the (understandable) requirement of having to print an  'isolation zone' (white space) around the icon. This makes printing anything else onto the NFC tag more difficult - such as an image of a mobile phone. The net result of this is that it's possible that the tags themselves are not printed and the user needs to develop their own graphics around the tag. Not as handy as having a pre-printed NFC tag that could be stuck onto anything you like.

This is important. Kimtag feel that in many instances NFC tags are better, more reliable, more interesting and ultimately a 'cooler' way of helping people to connect with you than QR Codes. While the take-up is likely to be driven by e-wallets, it's clear to us that the potential is far greater. Key to this is a clear branding and iconography. On one hand, a more identifiably 'scan me' graphic is going to draw people in and get them interested. On the other, a consistent 'N-Mark' is perhaps more important in the longer run.

We'll keep working on the options but the general feeling right now is that many users would prefer a more 'call to action' icon. We're tempted to agree.