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Education and Market Development for the Bar Code Industry

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Are We Foot Shot Artists?

In the Bar Code industry, we are great marksmen (markspersons?). It seems that we take careful aim at our foot and proceed to fill it with lead without ever missing. Everyone in the industry espouses the same line, "We have to educate the user." Sound familiar? Consider the following example of "educating" the user.

From an industry bar code standard comes the following statement. "Visual measurement results do not necessarily correlate with bar code scanning systems and therefore should not be used without establishing a quantifiable  correlation with the reference measurement methodology for each combination of imaging method and substrates."  Now I think I know what that means after reading it several times, but I am not sure too many users are going to.  That is just a single sentence form a specification containing 98 pages! Multiply it by the number of similar technospeak statements and it is no wonder that the poor user gives up and makes a wild guess at what he thinks the standard says. The really bad part is that the association paid someone from the bar code industry good money to help them write that sentence. Now they will spend the next ten years wondering why there is such poor compliance.

It is no secret that the user needs a bar code education, but he is not going to get the message this way. If we keep on trying to feed them the same old stuff ( I do not want my web site to be branded as undesirable by NannyGate, so "stuff" is more appropriate than more descriptive terminology) they are going to come to the conclusion that we are not trying to help them, just trying to confuse them so we can take their money!


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