QR codes are seen in many different places and as technology advances take place, we've seen the amount of data being used getting larger and larger. Internet providers are increasing their bandwidth and mobile devices are collecting more information. QR codes help solve the problem of fitting a large amount of data into a small space when compared to other barcode types. I'll reflect
on my experiences with QR codes and the challenges I was facing while working with them.
What are QR codes
A QR code is a set of matrix barcodes that is a machine-readable optical label that stands for Quick Response code. Matrix barcodes are two-dimensional and hold more data than standard UPC barcodes. QR codes have adopted standards as well.
- AIM (Association for Automatic Identification and Mobility)
- JIS (Japanese Industrial Standards)
- ISO/IEC 18004:2000
- ISO/IEC 18004:2006
- ISO/IEC 18004:2015
The QR code was released officially by Denso Wave, which is owned by Toyota, in 1994. I need to mention that it was developed in the 1960s by two members of Denso Corporation when a grocery store needed help with putting more information into barcodes. The two developers had created a 2D barcode system that retailers could use and effectively solved a major problem. They adopted QR codes to help them with their Kanban process. Kanban is an inventory management tool used to help control the flow of inventory by using a pull system. In 2002, QR codes finally had made it public in Japan.
How QR codes are used in marketing
QR codes are used in a variety of business sectors. One of the most trending ways to capture attention is through a QR code. They are recognizable on most mobile phones through using the camera and often contain lots of data. Example usages include retrieving a menu from a restaurant, making a payment to somebody, and in inventory systems to transfer information. This makes QR codes a valuable piece in marketing as well. We know that people will lean to the least path of resistance. Think about it for a second. If you walk past an advertisement that you find interesting, what's easier to do? Type in the website and risk the chance of you pressing the character in the URL or scanning the QR code with your mobile device? It's easier to scan the QR code. Plain and simple.
QR code applications in marketing:
- Direct users to a landing page from a brochure, advertisement or postcard
- Save V-Card or contact information from a business card or sale sheet
- Download an app
- Make a telephone call
- Used to deliver promotional items and offers or a coupon
Tips on designing QR code
Before you just go to a QR code generator site, there are some details on the design that you need to know. Here are some tips on getting that QR code just right.
Show users how to use your QR code
People sometimes need to take direction. If you just place a QR code on a piece of paper, how many will actually know what to do with it? It helps to put a label on the QR code so the user knows what to do with it.
Don't place the QR code on a webpage
It's not a good idea to place a QR code on a website. First, if you are on your mobile device and you can't scan the QR code with the device don't expect others to. Second, QR codes should only be placed on media.
Make sure the QR code is readable by other scanners
I've achieved better results by testing the QR code with different scanners on different Operating Systems. Test with as many different devices as you can. Please test your QR code before publishing it.
Avoid using a black background with white squares
QR code scanners were originally designed to be black squares on a white background. Try to avoid having too little contrast between the two colors as it can trip up some QR code readers.
Set the QR code to be the proper dimensions
QR codes need to be a minimum size in order to have desirable results. QR codes should be a minimum of 2cm x 2cm.
If multiple QR codes are needed, separate them
If you place QR codes too close together in proximity, the experience the users will have will be dramatically decreased when they start scanning the wrong QR code. This might result in the user just giving up and going on to the next thing.
Final Thoughts on QR codes
QR codes are a great way to help consumers access data. There are times when QR codes would be a great fit for your application and times where they may not be so good. If your business needs help in QR code design or other design services, schedule a free consultation or if you would like to schedule a meeting, we can do that too!