QR Codes: Connecting the Physical World to the Mobile Web
They seem to be popping up everywhere these days, small squares of black and white pixels, in magazines, on product packages, and even on informational signs. These are Quick Response codes, or more commonly QR codes. QR codes are a two-dimensional bar code first created in 1994, but only recently becoming common in the American public sector.
The QR code is designed to hold up to 4,296 characters of information and be quickly decoded by a machine with even a relatively low quality camera. These features make it the perfect platform for storing URLs that can be quickly read by cell phones and computers. With the explosion of smart phones, especially Android phones and the iPhone, QR codes have become the new standard for converting print media readers into web visits. From one-off promotions to a fast link to a company website, industries such as retail, restaurants and industrial have embraced the QR code within their print advertising. Organizations and municipalities have also embraced the technology for everything from self-guided tours to an instant link to a customer’s most recent utility bill. The QR code itself may not be high technology, but it is a key step in connecting the physical world to the ubiquitous mobile web.
For the end user, a QR code is a way to quickly follow a link, generally with a mobile device. Most smart phones are either preloaded with a QR reader or a plethora of QR reading apps are just a click away. As the QR code has entered the world, mostly driven by its use in magazine advertisements, end users are becoming increasingly comfortable with its use. QR codes are likely to become a must have in all print media as users become less willing to type out a link on the cramped keyboards of their smart phones. The spread of QR codes necessitates that businesses begin to make this technology part of their overall marketing plan.
QR codes can be generated either on a one off manual basis, a standard capability within CyberSense’s marketing toolbox, or they can be generated automatically. Automatic generation can be built into newsletters, web pages, etc. allowing printed media to be linked back to its source or to other promotions or web pages. Once generated, a QR code is an image, and as such can be integrated into designs and print media. Utilizing an advanced understanding of QR codes, CyberSense designers can even design a logo or word right into the code image itself, so even the QR code can carry a company’s branding.
QR codes are a small image and a simple concept with the potential for a big impact. As their use becomes more common they are becoming a requirement of successful print media, especially advertising. Start using QR codes today and boost your print to web conversions. The marketing and design experts here at CyberSense are ready to help.