Thursday, March 28, 2013

Will QR Codes Replace "www" ?

This is a reoccurring question I see from time to time.

The short answer is NO. Not everybody will have a smart phone with scanning possibilities is the obvious reason. In my opinion a QR Code should not link to the same (base/home) url as placed on a advertizement poster.

If your company is called "abc" and your website is, why should you place a QR Code on an advertizement linking to your abc homepage? There is hardly any added value linking to this page using a QR Code.

But if in your advertizing you promote product "xyz", and the link to this product page is something like:
"" a QR Code to link to this product page is a good idea.
Even a shortened link to this page like "" is better replaced by a QR Code.

Another example is a QR Code to a social media page, since a QR Code replaces a relative long link.

In both examples the QR Code should be accompanied with an instruction. "Scan for more info" or "Like Us on Facebook" could be the basic instructions for the mentioned examples.

Also make use of a Custom QR Code, so the threshold to pick up the phone and start scanning the code is even lowered even more.

Should you require such a customized QR Code, please visit my site to see examples of what is possible with QR Codes. Doesn't the site show what you are looking for, don't hesitate to contact me to discuss your specific needs.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Say more with your QR Code

Enhance the experience and have more people scanning your QR code by giving an incentive to scan the code. For example by adding a text string. In a QR Code adding a text string is equal to adding a graphic.

Since a picture can say more than a 1000 words, I would guess that adding text like used in these examples would state clearly what the benefit of scanning these codes is.

Unfortunately the pictures displayed in this blog entry do no entitle you for a discount as stated in the picture themselves. But if your require your own Custom QR Code for a reasonable price, please visit to see more examples of what is possible with Customize QR Codes.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Various 2D Bar codes

There are various 2D bar-codes, where the data-matrix and the QR Code seem to be the most common

Here is the example of the data-matrix.
It can be easily recognized on the dark outline at the left hand and the bottom side of the structure.
The content, that is the message and error correction, is placed in the structure in a diagonal fashion.

I encountered the Aztec code the last time when I was traveling. This code seems to be the preferred 2D bar-code used on boarding-passes. The little pyramid used as the marker in the center was the reason for naming this code.
Same as with the data-matrix and the QR Code, the content is a message and a error correction part. Data is placed in the structure  in a circular fashion starting in the center.

The QR Code data placement is done in a horizontal fashion.
In this orientation the start is at the right bottom of the structure and the data placement is up/down/up/down in the complete structure.

I would prefer the QR Code above the other two mentioned codes for a couple of reasons.
  • It is the best known of these codes.
  • For mobile phones some of the available Apps don't support the other formats.
  • If a graphic is to be inserted in the code, the preferred place is in the middle, with the QR code this interferes the least with the data, compared with the other two setup's.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Heineken Music Hall lanches token with QR Code

The Heineken Music Hall launches a token with a QR Code. source: Heineken Music Hall

The tokens are used for purchases in the Heineken Music Hall.
The QR Code itself is dynamic, making it possible to change the landing page after scanning. This can change from general information to a time limited (discount) offer.

It is a creative way to combine a QR Code linked to a brand, since one side of the coin will show the companies logo and the other side the QR Code.
The scan-ability of the QR Code from a photo was very poor, so I placed the actual code in this message for reference. I don't know if the resolution of the actual coin will result in fast scanning.

The (temporary) offers that can be obtained by scanning can probably only be redeemed at the Heineken Music Hall. In that case it would be useful to use this code on posters and other printable material within the HMH as well.
Looking at the link itself  I would probably have shortened this link and selected a version 2 in stead of a version 3 QR Code for higher resolution. And being me, I would have checked it there was still a unused  area to put a little graphic, like a (red) five point star, in the center of the QR Code.

Friday, March 15, 2013

QR Codes and Social Media

Linking QR Codes to social media? A great idea at first. I mean everyone is using social media, and social media is using everyone. In a lesser degree the same can be said about QR Codes.
For linking QR Codes to social media be aware of the differences. A lot of websites, including this blog have the social media icons to share, like, etc this page directly on facebook, google+, twitter, etc.
On the internet it is a click and confirm action.

Then there is the QR Codes.

Looking at the QR Codes in this article, the logo's of the social media is there, but it is unsure what these QR Codes will do, if any on the actual social media site that is displayed.

What they will not do is the click and confirm action! Placing a social media QR Code on a poster, billboard will not add likes or tweet the actual poster itself!

A QR Code is the bride that is offered for a fast link between the normal and the Internet world.

If the intention is to get the like, or have the tweet, these codes should link to a internet representation, a webpage, of the actual poster, billboard, etc.
Place the social media icons on this landing webpage for the follow up action.

If you require a fast scanning, error free QR Code for your social media or company/product branding, don't hesitate to visit to see more examples of what is graphically possible with QR Codes.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

QR Code Campaign Example

How to enrich your campaign with QR Code's?
There are a couple of questions that need to be answered. Who is your target audience? If this audience is not likely to use their mobile phone, well then QR Code might not enhance your campaign.
Where to place the QR Code? The QR Code itself is a tool make a link between the real world and the internet, on a webpage your better of to place a click-able link.
Combined with the QR Code, give an indication what you audience will get when the code is scanned, giving a reason to scan the QR Code at all.
When an URL is used in the QR Code, make sure your landing-page is mobile friendly.

This is all theory, so here is the real live example.
Note: I know that I just mentioned not to place the code on the internet, therefor by just clicking on the picture, will result in the same URL as the QR Code content.

Get this Twitter QR Code with a link to your Twitter account for Free.
Just scan the code for instructions.

free QR Code

If you require a fast scanning, error free Custom QR Code, containing a graphic of your choice, don't hesitate to visit contact me or visit my site to see more examples of what is possible with QR Codes.

Friday, March 8, 2013

QR Code size

QR Codes can be made in various sizes. Starting at version 1, where the QR Code is build with 21*21 elements. At each higher version both the height and the width is increased by 4. The largest size, version 40 consisting of 177 * 177 elements. Since each element equals a single bit, the storage capacity of the QR code also increases by size.
But larger sizes also require a higher resolution of the camera of your mobile phone. While the camera's of the mobile phones have enough resolution when actually taking a picture, the QR Code App is using a lower (but faster) resolution in view/scan mode of the camera.

This leads to the question, what should be the maximum size to be used when targeting mobile phone users.
When targeting a large range of phone's that have the ability to scan QR Codes I 'd take the video resolution of 640*480 pixels as base of the calculation.

Since the QR codes are squire, start with the smallest number in the resolution; i.e. 480 pixels.
In order to detect the individual elements, and have some margin for the borders between the elements I would think about 6 pixels would the be minimum for each QR Code element.

With the given resolution about 80 * 80 elements should be scan-able. The QR Version that complies with this resolution equals 1 + (80-21) / 4. This equation almost equals version 16.
This version 16 is during ideal conditions; camera angle, light conditions, printed surface, etc The actual mobile scan-able version will probably be reduced to about version 13.

How much data can be store in a version 13 QR Code?  
Version 13 holds 532 bytes of data and error correction information. With the lowest error correction setting 428 bytes of data can be stored, the highest setting stores 180 bytes.
The italic line above is 180 bytes long and this line is the content of the displayed V13 QR Code.

While 180 bytes seems long, if the content of the QR Code is formatted text like a vCard, containing company name, address details, telephone numbers, job title etc, etc, you quickly run out of space.

If you require a fast scanning, error free QR Code, don't hesitate to contact me or visit my site to see more examples of what is possible with QR Codes.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

QR Codes Placeholder for Viruses?

I got a remark the other day that QR Codes were associated with viruses. This issue became such a big hurdle that there was no longer any interest in purchasing a QR Code.
How big is this virus thread in QR Codes? Unless you have a computer for a brain the black and white squires of a QR Code will only reveal its content upon scanning. It could be a link to a site that is malicious. It could be a link to an unwanted application in a mobile store. It could be a pre-formatted text message to a paid service.

But the same applies to e-mail. A quick scan of my spam box reveals links to malicious sites, attachments that are dodgy, an offer for pills to stimulate my health (or for other bodily enhancements...)

For e-mail and QR Code both is that wrong can be done with the technology, and in this world that we live in someone is going to try.

One of the reasons I started making Custom QR Codes with the possibility to apply branding in the code itself is to link the QR Code visual to your company. If a QR Code with a company branding is still associated with viruses you might have to wonder how well you company is trusted.

If you are not afraid of QR Codes, and you require a fast scanning, error free QR Code, don't hesitate to contact me or visit my site to see more examples of what is possible with QR Codes.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Dynamic QR Codes

On the internet I see a lot of QR Codes being offered as Dynamic QR Codes. This called for research since QR Codes by themselves are to be considered static. For a QR Code to be dynamic, the black/white pattern needs to change in order to generate a new link for the same code.

So what are dynamic QR Codes?
The link (URL) in the code has to link to a forwarding page. The content of this forwarding page can be controlled to redirect the internet traffic to a page of your choosing. Whoever controls the forwarding page controls the traffic, by just changing this page you make your QR Code dynamic.

There are a couple of companies that specialize in offering this service. Included in this service is also the possibility to perform statistical analysis, and the cost of this services varies from cost per access to a flat fee.

The cost, and being dependent/having to rely on a third party made me look into alternative.
Call it a do it yourself dynamic QR Code...

Suppose your domain is "", and your host gives you the possibility to make your own sub-domains. I would make a sub-domain called "".
Make or have a QR Code made that links to this forwarding domain.

On this page place the following lines of HTML code in the "index.html" file:
<meta http-equiv="Refresh" content="0;URL=">

And your Dynamic QR Code is finished. At the time you need your QR Code traffic going to a different URL just change this code. For statistical tracking, use google analytics (or another service). Just add the code supplied by goolge to the HTML code as shown above.

If you require a fast scanning, error free QR Code, dynamic or static :-), don't hesitate to visit to see more examples of what is possible with QR Codes.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Mobile friendly website

Although QR Codes can hold other content than a website link, more that 80% of the usage will be a website link. And more that 90% of the cases a QR Code will be scanned by a mobile phone.
A website link in combination with a mobile phone ask for a mobile friendly website.
In most of the cases your personal or business website is made for desktop usage.

With the progress the newest generation mobile phones have made, most of the desktop website will also accessible for mobile phone, even with active items like flash. Your website is your lobby for your (mobile) visitors. What is expected from a lobby? Clear, friendly and pleasant instructions in how to proceed further.

If you lobby is not appealing, the chance is that you potential customer will turn around and leave.

So the landing page of the QR Code must be mobile friendly.

In my opinion a mobile friendly website needs to comply with the following:
  • Fast loading, you don't want to empty the data-bundle of your client's mobile phones subscription. And mobile users don't want to wait long for page loading. There has been a positive incentive to visit you site, keep this positive flow, if the interest is gone so is your visitor.
  • Even without zooming, that is on the limited screen-size of a mobile phone your page should still look appealing. It could be that a desktop size landing page might look good on a mobile phone, but have it checked.
  • Just as your desktop website, all the next actions should be clear. For this it is important what your visitors should do next when visiting you initial landing page. It is therefore also important that you define what you want your visitors to do, and steer them this way. Also here again..... have it checked that this intention is present on your landing page.
If you have your mobile friendly website ready, use a personalized error free, fast scanning QR Code to invite you visitors! If you require such a code, don't hesitate to visit to see more examples of what is possible with QR Codes.