Common Mistakes when Using a QR Code

Long before smartphones even existed, QR codes have been around since the ’90s. A QR code provides data that points to a website where users can access more information about a product or service. When a QR code is printed and used correctly, information can be provided to the end user more quickly and efficiently. Sometimes, QR codes may not work if setup improperly. Below are six common mistakes that can occur when using QR codes.

1. Printing the QR Code Too Small

Print the QR code at least of a size of a 1 X 1″ square. This allows mobile devices to capture and read them clearly with their camera. Sizes smaller than this may create difficulties, causing the code to not scan properly.

business card
Nice, this is scannable!
business card
Too small, difficult to scan

2. Using a Background with Low Contrast

A QR code that has similar colours with it’s square background may not be read properly by a camera. The square pattern should be clearly visible with it’s background. When designing the code onto printed material, contrast should also be considered. A different coloured background is important in ensuring readability of the code. The best way to show a QR code is the standard black pattern with white background.

low contrast QR
Low contrast square

high contrast QR
Low contrast background

3. Stretching the QR Code on Large Posters

When adding QR codes saved as a JPEG of PNG file to large posters or banners, they should not be stretched. This will cause the square pattern to become pixelated and unreadable with mobile devices. It is best to save them as a PDF or SVG file as these allow stretching images without losing any quality.

4. Adding a QR Code to Moving Objects

To scan a QR code, users 1) take out their phone, 2) turn on their camera or open an app, and 3) point the device at the code. Adding a code onto moving objects such as cars, buses or vehicles will be ineffective as users will have no time to scan them.

5. The QR Code Points to a Broken Link

The printing and placement of a QR code is important, but the data and content behind the code is just as important. Once a code catches someone’s attention, they are interested in learning more. Don’t frustrate them with links that cannot open or lead to an error page. Always double check that your code is working properly before distributing it!

broken qr code

6. The Link looks like Spam

Would you click a link that looks like this?

Maybe not. A link that looks like spam may look untrustworthy and prevent a user from proceeding to the site. For a smooth experience, use a trustworthy link or link shortener, such as Bitly, so users don’t click away. Short URLs like below are easier to read and let’s users know exactly what they are clicking into.

QR Codes to Become More Common

QR codes will continue to require education & time to learn in order to see their true potential. Once understood, their versatility and simplicity can enhance any user experience. Contact us to learn more about how QR codes can be utilized for your business.