QR or Quick Response Codes have been around since 1994 and were originally used to track parts during car manufacture. It is likely you have seen one, even if you didn’t know what it was, usually displayed as black and white squares in a grid pattern reminiscent of a crossword. Essentially QR Codes are a barcode capable of holding significantly more information (thousands of characters as opposed to tens).
Around October 2010 they became a popular tool to quickly link smartphone users through to web pages, provided the phone had a relevant reader installed. Creating your own code is fairly simple with a myriad of free to use generators available, though initially the various options can be slightly overwhelming.
So How Are QR Codes Used?
QR codes are a quick and convenient way to transfer information to smart phones (or any digital device with a reader). The information encoded might direct users to a website URL, add contact details, offer special discounts and much more. They are often seen in magazines and on posters and flyers, where details on an event or product can be transferred. More specialised uses involve supplying extra details on name tags and business cards (vCards or personalised webpages), television adverts that are continued interactively and ordering online from closed high street shops.
QR Codes have also been used as coupon codes, online tickets and in scavenger hunts. Reiterating the paper message is a frequent but uninteresting practise, it is often more effective to create useful and interesting applications that will get people talking. What follows are a few of the better examples.
Mini Business Cards
Using minicards means less space, but with the addition of a QR code any missing details can still be passed on.
Scanning the code on this menu from a Radisson Edwardian Hotel will take you through to a video of the dish being prepared.
Resume / CVA fantastic way to stand out from the crowd, scanning the code takes the user to a video of him giving his resume in his own voice.
How Do I Create My Own QR Code?
There are plenty of free QR code generators out there. Generally the default settings will be fine for a quick and easy result and many of the options are fairly self-evident though they will sometimes appear under different headings. Nevertheless to ensure that any interested party has the best chance of using your code it is worth at least being aware of some of the more advanced options available.
Must Know QR Code Tips
Resolution –An important part of a QR code is the size as if it is too small some devices may have issues reading it. Across different generators Resolution is also referred to as Scale, Block size or Output.
Data Type – This defines what action the code will take when scanned, it is commonly used to show the user websites, plain text, phone numbers, Google maps and email addresses.
Redundancy/Error Correction – If a portion of the code becomes unreadable having using Error Correction during creation will mean the code compensates for lost data. There are varying degrees of correction offered (15% is the most common) though the larger the redundancy allowed for the greater the increase the grid size. At 0% any obstruction/damage to the code is likely to render it unreadable.
How Do I Read The QR Code?
Every major device has a number of available readers, some such as Blackberry come with a built in reader, Android and iOS have a number of free and paid options available on their respective marketplaces. QR Reader for iPhone and QR Droid for Android and Google Goggle for both, are favourites.