I recently created Zapp! – a totally web-based QR code reader, and released it into the wild. It was originally designed to make navigating around the internet easier for young learners and those with SEN, anyone who finds it hard to use a keyboard. I’ve been meaning to put it to the test with a learner who has close to zero literacy, namely my 3 year old daughter, to test whether it really is that accessible. This evening I finally got round to doing it and my wife decided to film the whole thing. It was the first time she had seen it in action also and being a part-time teacher herself, I was interested to see what her reaction was to it. The results are below:
We had a stilted start, having issues getting the laptop positioned correctly and making sure her fingers weren’t covering the code, but these obstacles are easily overcome with judicious formatting (i.e. having space either side to allow for holding it on both sides) or printing multiple copies of the code on a sheet as I’ve seen being done elsewhere. The only other obstacle we ran into was having to click on the Flash ‘Allow’ button the first time the reader fires up but she could handle doing this herself given a little practice. One other thing to note is that you’ll have to allow popups the first time you use the tool. We didn’t in our case because I’d already done it during development.
You’ll notice from the video that Zapp! works even when the reader window is in the background, meaning you get a completely seamless browsing experience. I’m incredibly pleased with the result, and the robustness of the reader is quite astounding (not my achievement, but totally down to Kasper Kamperman whose code the reader is based upon) when compared to other readers I have used which are really picky about having the code in exactly the right place.
In the case of this test, the reader was fired from a desktop shortcut. This is easy enough to achieve on Windows or OS X. In the case of Windows, you just right click the desktop and choose New->Shortcut, then type in the web address http://zapp.grokbox.co.uk/opener.html. In the case of OS X, you simply type the address somewhere (say a text editor), then highlight it and drag it onto the desktop. With Windows, it’s easy enough to add a custom icon to the shortcut (right click on shortcut -> properties -> change icon… -> choose icon .ico file) and if you want to do this, I’ve created the necessary .ico file here for you to download and use. I haven’t found any way yet of changing the shortcut icon in OS X but I’m sure there must be a way.
One other option is to make http://zapp.grokbox.co.uk/opener.html the homepage of your browser, so that when it opens, the reader pops right up and your young learners can browse away to their hearts content.
By the way – my wife’s reaction in the video was totally spontaneous, I honestly didn’t bribe her with anything to get such a positive reaction…honest!
Why not give Zapp! a try right now? Simply snap a picture of this code with your phone:
or print it out, then click on the Zapp! button below to launch the reader:
Finally, hold up the picture you took to your webcam and voila, you’ve been Zapped!
I have big plans for Zapp! such as keyboard-free logins and more. So stay tuned and please use the tool and feedback with any suggestions and reactions.