A QR Code is a 2D BarcodeQR codes are an encoded barcode image resembling a square-like maze. Unlike a 1-dimensionalUPC code, a 2-dimensional barcode stores data in both directions and can be scanned vertically orhorizontally to be decoded.Universal Product Code/ European Article Number or International Article Number
Storage of DataA traditional 1D barcode (UPC/EAN) stores up to 30 numbers, while a 2D barcode (QR) canstore up to 7,089 numbers. The additional storage capacity accommodates a variety of databeyond numbers:• Text• Hyperlink• Telephone number (Phone call)• SMS/MMS message• Email (Send message)• Contact entry (vCard or meCard)• Calendar entry (vCalendar)Storing a hyperlink presents a myriad of possibilities beyond just loading a web page -- play avideo, download a mobile app, check-in on Foursquare, update a Twitter status, "Like" aFacebook page, display map directions, and more.
Read/Decode a 2D Barcode by Scanning it With a Smartphone(A 2D barcode reader app is required to decode the encoded data.)
Placement Once the barcode image is created, it can be printed on nearly any surface and location -- newspapers, TV ads, billboards, temporary tattoos, product packaging, clothing labels, cake frosting, and more. This enables you to drive traffic, interaction, and conversion from anywhere. 2D barcodes excel at bringing non-digital media to life. Bear in mind the location must be easily scannable. Plastic frames and packaging can reflect light. Lighting can cast shadows, and hillsides and subways can kill Wi-Fi access. Consider all contextual factors that could impact the scanning experience.Note: Use caution placing barcodes online. They should always enhance the user experience.If a user could click a hyperlink, dont make them scan a code to complete the same task.
Providing Special Value for the CustomerIts work to scan a barcode, so users have higher expectations as to what content they will find.One must try to reward the user with discounts, exclusive content, or useful tips relevant tothe codes context. Consider scenarios that leverage smartphone features (email, SMS, phonecall, video, map, apps, etc.) to save the user time.For example, including a QR code on a business card that links to a meCard would be a loteasier than the user manually entering the contact record. In contrast, a QR code that links to awebsite homepage adds limited value.Note: If you link to a web page, make sure that its mobile-friendly.
Consumers Need Guidance to Scan 2D BarcodesThe variety of code types, readers, and different terminology is confusing to consumers.Nielsen Company estimates that only 40 percent of U.S. mobile devices are smartphones as of Q12011, growing to almost 50 percent by Q3 2011. That means there are a lot of smartphone rookiesthat barely know how to use their phone, much less distinguish differences in mobile barcode formatsand reader apps.As long as 2D barcodes are a novelty concept, always include a brief step-by-step guide with thecontext of your code.Logical steps:1- Get the reader app2- Scan the code with your mobile device3- (Action that happens upon scanning)Steps two and three can be combined as a call-to-action. Example: "Scan to ____."(... watch a video, download our app, call customer support, etc.)
2D Barcodes can be Customized Artistically QR codes include an Error Correction Level (ECL) that enables "damaged" codes to still be scanned. The error level tolerance (set by the code generator) can be as high as 30%. As a result, creative license can be used to create designer QR codes from a variety of colors or materials (i.e. jelly beans, sand castles, productpackaging, etc.) as long as there is adequate contrast to read the code.Tip: Some artistic design is fun and good to see; however, dont go overboard. As long as 2Dbarcodes are novelty, its important that users easily recognize a scannable code from adistance.
Best use of QR codes some examples
1- TescoQuestion: How does Tesco become the number one grocery chain without increasingstore numbers?Solution: Create virtual stores in subways where people can scan the ‘shelves’ andpurchase their items using QR codes while waiting for their train.Once the shopper has completed their shopping, they pay with their Smartphone andthe goods are delivered to their home.
1 - Tesco
2- HeinzHeinz, the ketchup people, cleverly used QR codes for their “Our Turn to Serve”promotion.The promotion gave Americans the chance to show their appreciation for those whohave served in the military.By scanning the QR code located on the bottle of ketchup, consumers were able to leavepersonalized messages to American troops. In addition, for every thank you received,Heinz donated 57 cents to the Wounded Warrior Project.
3- Starbucks Starbucks offered a creative way for consumers to learn more about its coffee. By incorporating QR codes in popular newspapers and magazines, users were able to watch short videos promoting Starbucks new mobile payment app as well as interviews with coffee experts, its history, or information on traditions local to where the coffee was grown.
4 – JC-Penny
5- Phillips & CompanyTaking QR code advertising to an all-new level, Phillips & Co. created Blue Marble, whichoffered advertising space to those flying above.By painting a QR code on the top of roofs, the company hoped to invade Google Mapswith their "scannable" codes for mobile users.
6- Victoria’s SecretEarlier this year, Victorias Secret took to the mobile advertising world and incorporatedQR Codes into their undeniably clever "Sexier than Skin" campaign.The concept was simple: Huge billboards were installed with nearly nude models. QRCodes were then placed over the most "revealing" areas, enticing users to scan thecodes to reveal the secret – the secret being their line of womens undergarments.
7- The Best of the lot – Cow Herder
Best Practices Checklist
Our RecommendationQR codes presents a great opportunity to go beyond the print medium and enrich the userexperience through multimedia. Video Bookmarks Presentation Schedules Websites V Cards
Is the death of QR codes near? • QR codes have been around for a while, are standardized and economical however, • NFC or Near-field communications is a new technology which allows users to do the same things which QR code does but with more ease, security and speed. • NFC is more like Bluetooth than a barcode – that allows two devices to recognize each other and share information each requires some dedicated electronic circuitry or a chip. One device can be passive and unpowered (e.g. A poster). • NFC usages include contactless electronic travel card, payment card, office access ID, loyalty card. There isn’t really any overlap with QR codes. • NFC is more expensive compared to QR codes.Source: The Independent
Is the death of QR codes near? Near-field communications – is a wireless technology – more like Bluetooth than a barcode – that allows two devices to recognize each other and share information. Each requires some dedicated electronic circuitry or a chip. One device can be passive and unpowered, such as contactless card used in some cities places for public transport or RFID tags that are sometimes used in logistics to store info on the shipment. But however simple, and however mass-produced, it is producing an electronic tag for a product, poster, concert ticket, coupon is going to be relatively expensive compared to a barcode. NFC is more commonly talked about in terms of contactless payments i.e. using your phone as an alternative to an electronic travel card, payment card, office access ID, loyalty card. There isn’t really any overlap with QR codes. Apple does not plan to include a Near Field Communication (NFC) chip in the next version of the iPhone. They plan to introduce their own system, which could take well into next year to be ready. When they introduce their own it will fragment even more. With no standard the market will not know which way to turn and could easily hinder the whole process. At least QR Codes are standard and actually are used in a different segment of the market.Source: The Independent