Welcome. This is a hidden page about QR codes on my website. For you to be here, you most likely scanned the QR code in a blog post that brought you here. Alternatively, you are reading this in the future and this page has been indexed by search engines such as Google (or whatever you’re using to search now) or I gave you the direct link through other means.
Brief History of QR Codes
Quick Response Codes (or QR Codes for short) were invented in Japan by Denso Wave (a subsidiary of Toyota) in 1994, and were originally intended was to track vehicles throughout the manufacturing process. QR codes have since been used to track other types of data and have been used in advertising, sending and receiving vCards, and to provide product information.
How To Read QR Codes
In order to read QR codes, you need something that will scan and decipher the content of them. At this point, most mobile devices sold in the United States do not come with an application that can read QR codes pre-installed. However, many free applications are available and offer various degrees of utility.
How To Generate QR Codes
QR codes can be generated for free at various places online. I’ve used the following sites to create QR codes in the past (also there are many applications that will create QR Codes for various purposes from your mobile device):
Although these sources will render a two-dimensional image, you can change the colors and take out some of the points to create a uniquely identifiable code. Here are some examples of a few innovative QR codes and uses.
Do’s and Don’ts
Keep in mind that QR codes are almost always scanned from a mobile device. People don’t normally try to scan your business card with their computer’s webcam. So, planning to use QR codes, make sure that your destinations are optimized for positive mobile experiences. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do not create a QR code that sends the person to a non mobile-optimized version of your website. In fact, I normally recommend not using QR codes to send people to websites at all. Instead, send them to a quick sign-up form for an email or SMS campaign, your contact information, a low-bandwidth video, etc. The destination can also be an action. For example, you can create QR codes that automatically download event details into a user’s calendar, contact information into their address book, or call a pre-defined number. Here are a few more rules of thumb:
• Explain why to scan the QR Code (e.g.,: Scan to join our mailing list)
• Optimize the destination for mobile devices
• Use the question mark at the end of URLs to measure traffic. Nothing that appears after a question mark affects the destination, but allows you to know exactly how effective a campaign is. For example I might use the following:
I can measure the number of referals from each link and tell you which bullet point was most effective. The same applies when you’re creating postcards that will be left at different locations, times, etc. The uses are limitless.
• Be creative
• Make sure you have a strategy for implementing them well
• Send people to a non mobile-optimized website
• Put so much information in the QR code that it’s difficult for scanners to read
• Use them just because they are popular
• Put QR codes in the destination that need to be scanned. (Once they have scanned the QR code, they are then using the device, so it is difficult for them to then scan again—they would have to have a second mobile device or save the image and then run the image through a scanning program. Way too much work—it’s “Quick Response”).
Now that you have a very basic overview of QR codes, what creative ways can you think of to use them? Let me know by clicking leaving your comment at the original blog post.