What are QR Codes and How do I use Them

What are QR Codes?

The best way to understand what a QR Code is, is to see one. To use a QR code, you will require a QR code reader. Fortunately, all mobile devices can read these neat codes.

What does a QR Code do?

A QR (Quick Response) code is a type of barcode that can be scanned and read by mobile devices. They work similarly to how barcodes on a grocery item work: scanned at the cash register to provide detailed information.

Scanning a barcode or QR code provides information to the machine or mobile device that is reading it. For grocery item barcodes, information includes prices, product numbers, descriptions, or other product characteristics. With QR codes, they can provide the same data to a mobile device, but can include more information that we mention later in this article.

The growth of mobile devices over the past 10 years have increased the number of capabilities that smartphones can provide. Remember when you needed a separate camera to take a picture, a desktop computer to send an email, or a standalone phone to make a call? Smartphones have combined all of these tasks and more into one small “computer” in the palm of your hands. And that includes reading QR codes.

What Types of Information can QR codes provide?

Pretty much anything. Scanning a QR code can reveal email addresses, phone numbers, addresses, and most importantly any web link. Links that direct to Facebook, Twitter, videos, and your own website makes QR Codes a flexible and versatile way to get information to end users fast. Instead of a lengthy website or wall of text, such as a restaurant menu, a QR code can provide an easier way to access information with just a phone camera.

Printing QR codes out is also easy; they only require a printer and paper. Just like printing a photo, they can be added onto table cards, posters, store front banners and pretty much any item. Correctly sizing, contrasting, and laminating printed material can ensure the codes can be used for a long period of time.

How do I Scan a QR Code with my Phone?

Reading a QR code is simple as it only requires a mobile device (with a camera of course) and a few seconds. Any of the methods below will provide the information behind a QR code:

  1. For newer mobile devices, open your camera and point it at the QR code. A link should popup to reveal the contents of the code.
  2. For older devices, you’ll have to download a free QR Code reader application from the App Store or Play store. There are many available and any will do. After downloaded, open the app and point your camera on the code to reveal a link to access it’s information.
  3. As you’ve noticed, most QR codes are links to a web page. Sometimes, links will appear next to a QR code and can be typed into a browser.

Placement of QR Codes are Just as Important

The goal of QR codes is for users to see it, scan it, and interact with them. Placing them in highly visible and open areas will ensure more people can access the information you want them to see. Posting QR codes in areas such as a storefront or on tables give users the opportunity to learn more about products or services. Avoid these 6 common mistakes when setting up your QR code.

Table Card QR Code

QR Codes can be tricky at first but very useful once fully understood. To learn more about QR codes, feel free to reach out!